AD 122 The gifted Roman emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD) made two great tours of his dominions, and it was during the first, in AD 122, that he visited Britain and decided to establish a permanent frontier from the Tyne to the Solway. The celebrated wall he erected, 73 miles long, is one of Britain's original nine world heritage sites (as is Durham Cathedral and Castle).
Newcastle was founded by Hadrian, who bestowed his own family name on it - Pons Aelius (Aelian Bridge). The Roman crossing was at the foot of the Tyne Gorge, roughly on the site of the present Swing Bridge, and the settlement lay approximately where the castle keep is now. Hadrian's Wall runs through present-day Newcastle with stretches of wall and turrets visible along the West Road. The course of the wall can be traced eastwards to Wallsend (Segedunum), where the site is marked and the bath-house has been restored.
AD 209 After serious damage inflicted on the Wall when its garrison was depleted in AD 197, the emperor Septimius Severus eventually arrived in Britain with his court and two sons, the future emperors Caracalla and Geta on a punitive campaign. The emperor began renovating Hadrian's Wall and for centuries it was known, for instance by Bede, as Severus' Wall.
Later Roman emperors in northern Britain on martial business included Constantius Chlorus, who died in York, and his son (later Constantine the Great); Constans; Constantius and in AD 368-72, Count Theodosius and his son (later Theodosius the Great).
After the Romans departed in the 5th century, the Newcastle area was occupied by invading Angles. Known as Monkchester, Newcastle lay within the powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, three of whose rulers held the title of Bretwalda - 'Lord of Britain' - in the 7th century. During this Golden Age of Northumbria, in which the northern kingdom was a European beacon of art and scholarship, Monkchester is hardly heard of. The great names are Lindisfarne, where the famous Gospels were produced in c AD 698; Jarrow, where Bede wrote the first history of England, Wearmouth, Hexham and others.
The Golden Age came to an end with the coming of the Norsemen. Viking raiders entered the Tyne in AD 787 and again in AD 794, when they plundered Jarrow monastery. Part of their fleet was wrecked according to tradition, on the Herd Sands at South Shields. Another raid under Ingvar and Hubba occurred in AD 865, when Tynemouth monastery was sacked.
A powerful Viking expedition arrived in AD 875, and anchored in Jarrow Slake, before moving up the river to the Team. This force was led by Halfdan, brother of Ingvar and Hubba, and son of the most celebrated Viking of the age, Ragnar Lodbrok, who had perished in a snake pit at the hands of the King of Northumbria. Monkchester was destroyed by the Danes, who conquered much of southern Northumbria, with Halfdan becoming the first king of Viking York. Place-names in Northumberland and Durham, however, show little Viking influence.
In 1066 the King of Norway Harald Hardrada ('the last of the Vikings') anchored in the Tyne with great numbers of ships, on his way to disastrous defeat near York by Harold I of England. In the same year, Harold himself was famously defeated and slain at Hastings by the invading Normans under William the Conqueror.
1068 Battle of Gateshead Fell, where the Conqueror defeated Edgar the Atheling and his allies, including Malcolm Canmore, king of Scotland.
1069 William the Conqueror had to deal with considerable resistance as he moved north and west from London and found it expedient to devastate the lands between York and the Tees before building the castle at Durham in 1069.
1072 William returned to Newcastle after exacting submission from Malcolm in Abernethy.
1080 1080 Monkchester was levelled again in the general devastation of the lands between the Tyne and Tweed by Odo, bishop of Bayeux, half brother of the Conqueror, after the rebellion in 1080. Because of its strategic position, Robert Curthose, son of the Conqueror, erected a wooden castle there in that year and the town was henceforth known as Novum Castellum or Newcastle.
1086 First mention of the Nunnery of St Bartholomew
1091 The fleet of William II (Rufus) was wrecked off the Tyne on its way north to accompany the king’s land forces marching to Scotland via Durham and Newcastle in order to confront Malcolm III.
1091 Malcolm III (Canmore) of Scotland (Macbeth's slayer) besieged Newcastle. Malcolm was killed at Alnwick in 1093 and buried at Tynemouth.
1091 St Nicholas was built, chief of the four Norman churches in Newcastle.
1095 The castle was fortified by Robert de Mowbray in his rebellion against William II (Rufus), but it was taken by the king in 1095.
1100 Tyne salmon were already famous during the reign of Henry I, and exports from Newcastle at this time included wool, hides and lead. Ships from France and Flanders brought pepper, ginger and alum.
c 1100 Mention of the Hospital of St Mary the Virgin and the Hospital of St Mary Magdalene (for the reception of lepers) [Place the following after 1157]
1122 First mention of St Nicholas Church
1138King David I of Scotland occupied Newcastle before the Battle of the Standard.
1138-57 During the occupation of Newcastle by the Scots king David I the town enjoyed the continuation of privileges granted by William II (Rufus) and Henry I. Local government was codified in 'The Laws and Customs which the Burgesses of Newcastle had in the times of Henry I, King of England, and which they ought to have.' This document is the basis of the celebrated 'Leges Burgorum' which governed Roxburgh, Edinburgh, Berwick and Stirling, and the model for Sunderland, Gateshead and Beverley.
1157 Newcastle was restored to the English.
1172-7 The castle keep (deliberately grim and without corner turrets) was built by Maurice, the architect of Dover Castle, in the reign of Henry II, who established a mint in Newcastle.
1174 William the Lion, king of Scotland, was held here after his capture at Alnwick. Henry II, doing penance in London for the murder of Thomas Beckett, considered that the capture was a sign that God had forgiven him.
1185-6 First mention of Newcastle goldsmiths
1209 King John and William the Lion, king of Scotland met in Newcastle
1216 Old St Nicholas destroyed by fire.
1216 King John made substantial alterations to the huge Newcastle fortress during his march north against the barons, and it was in that year that the Newcastle burgesses were granted the right to have a mayor, Daniel, son of Nicholas, though Peter Scott in 1251 is the earliest full name we have.
1234 Plague lasting three years
1236 Henry III conferred with Alexander king of Scotland in Newcastle.
1237 By the Treaty of York, the Tweed-Solway border we know today was at last fixed.
1239 The charter for digging coal was granted by Henry III, and Newcastle became the first coal port in the world. Local religious houses like Lindisfarne, Jarrow and Monkwearmouth began to use coal for heating. They also abandoned the open hearth system in favour of a moveable 'iron chimney' or firegate, using poker and tongs.
1244 Henry III again treated with his brother-in-law, Alexander II, king of Scotland, in August 1244 in the Great Hall of the castle (near the present Moot Hall).
1247 Henry III built the castle gatehouse known as the Black Gate.
1248 A great fire swept away most of Newcastle, along with its wooden Norman bridge. The stone bridge which replaced it had a gate at each end and a tower in the middle.
1248 The Dominican friars, who came to Newcastle in 1239, established themselves at Blackfriars
1248 Henry III appointed bailiffs to safeguard the Royal Mint in Newcastle
1250 The earliest detailed maps of England are four attributed to Matthew Paris, the St Albans chronicler, and are based on an itinerary from Dover to Newcastle. St Albans had a priory at Tynemouth.
1255 Henry III and his Queen visited Newcastle
1259 Newcastle's attempts to impose a trading monopoly on the Tyne led to an agreement with the Prior of Durham that the inhabitants of South Shields should have liberty to bake and brew but for themselves only, not for sale.
1263 The Dominican (Black) Friars were permitted by King Henry III to construct an aqueduct to supply fresh water
1265 The town walls of Newcastle were begun under Henry III. The antiquary John Leland, said (as late as 1540) that in strength and magnificence: 'They far passith all the waulls of the cities of England and most of the cities of Europe.' Two miles in extent, up to thirty feet high and studded with seventeen formidable towers, they were considered by experienced soldiers to be far stronger than those of York, and on a par with Avignon and Jerusalem. Newcastle still possesses more of its walls than all but four English cities (York, Chester, Chichester and Southampton.)
1272 Greyfriars Monastery in existence
1276 Strong earth tremor in Newcastle. Severe thunder and lightning.
1278 Edward I visited Newcastle and went on to stay at Belsay Castle
1279 It was decided that the Priors of Tynemouth and Durham should not erect buildings including breweries, at the mouth of the Tyne. There should only be fishing huts.
1286 First mention of Pilgrim Street (Vicus peregrinorum)
c 1286 First mentions of All Saints and St John's churches
1290 House of the Austin Friars erected
1291 Eighty quarters of coal were sent from Newcastle to Corfe Castle in Dorset
1292 On Boxing Day 1292, Edward I, 'The Hammer of the Scots' received the homage of John Balliol for the throne of Scotland in the Great Hall of the castle in Newcastle, an event commemorated in a well-known contemporary picture. Balliol's revolt, provoked by the English king, was the pretext for Edward's subsequent assault on Scotland and the bringing of the Stone of Scone south to London by way of Newcastle.
1292 Edward I destroyed the jetties at North Shields
1294 A galley ordered by Edward I is the first recorded ship to be built on the Tyne. The king also ordered the restoration of St Nicholas.
1295 Newcastle sent two members to parliament from this year.
1296 William Wallace's initial success was followed by an invasion of northern England and the burning of Corbridge, but he did not try to take either Carlisle or Newcastle.
1298 Edward I's expedition into Scotland, where he overthrew Wallace at Falkirk, started from Newcastle. Braveheart himself was brought south through the town. Newcastle, however, does not feature in the film.
1299 Edward I permitted the burgesses of Newcastle to purchase Pandon and add it to the town. In 1307 The Town Walls were rebuilt to include Pandon
1299 Edward (or 'Edouard', as he signed himself, Norman fashion) was in the chapel at Heaton Hall on 6 December 1299 to hear the boy-bishop perform the vespers of St Nicholas, and gave the boy and his youthful companions 40 shillings between them. This was the king who had sanctioned the massacre of Berwick's inhabitants on a Good Friday.
1299 Three men 'fled from felony' and sought sanctuary in the Benedictine nunnery (near Nun Street).
1305 Edward I used the ghastly punishment of being hanged, drawn and quartered for the captured William Wallace, part of whose body was sent to Newcastle for display.
1305-33 Richard Emeldon was Mayor of Newcastle. He was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill.
1306 The use of coal for fuel was banned in London by royal proclamation because it injured the sale of wood. The edict was not long in force.
1314 Edward II spent much time in Newcastle 1311-12. Before the fateful Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 Edward was again Newcastle. He fled south from Tynemouth by sea, leaving his pregnant wife behind in Tynemouth Castle.
1323 A quarter of Andrew Harclay, Earl of Carlisle, who had been hanged, drawn and quartered for treason, was sent to Newcastle for display.
1326 Hugh of Newcastle entered the Minorite order in Newcastle. He attended Dun Scotus' lectures in Paris and was involved in the famous letter to the Pope on apostolic poverty.
1333 Crushing victory by the English archers at Halidon Hill, north of Berwick, in which the Newcastle contingent, together with the mayor, are supposed to have perished to a man.
1334 Edward III received homage from his royal Scottish protege, Edward Balliol, in a splendid ceremony at Blackfriars Monastery in Newcastle on 19 June 1334. By the Treaty of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Edward recovered Berwick and eight southern Scottish shires.
1334 The Mayor and Bailiffs were forbidden to hinder the mooring of ships on the south side of the Tyne.
1334 Newcastle was the fourth wealthiest town in England after London
1335 Edward III assembled his army in Newcastle before invading Scotland, and was there again twice on his way to Perth in 1336
The Border war with Scotland lasted intermittently for several centuries - possibly the longest border war ever waged - and Newcastle was successfully defended against the Scots three times during the 14th century. The English monarchs retaliated in kind. Throughout the 14th century, Newcastle was a mustering centre for English armies.
1339 Most of Newcastle bridge was destroyed in a flood.
1340-1 Edward III imposed a fine of £500 on Newcastle after riots over the appointment of a mayor
1341 David II invaded England in support of France. While his army lay encamped on the Forth outside Newcastle, a few 'gallant gentlemen' made a night sally at the Postern Gate, near the present Central Station and captured the Earl of Mar in his nightshirt. A furious attack by the Scots was then beaten off.
1342 Edward III renewed Newcastle's 12th century charter
1346 At the famous siege of Calais, Newcastle sent 17 ships, a total bettered only by Yarmouth.
1346 Scots king David II after his defeat by Queen Philippa at Neville's Cross, was imprisoned in the keep at Newcastle
1348 Work on St Nicholas church was interrupted by the Black Death
1352 The Mayor and Bailiffs were forbidden to molest South Shields fishermen and seize their catch.
1356 Edward III in his 'Burnt Candlemas' campaign from Newcastle recaptured Berwick, ravaged the Lothians and burned Edinburgh.
1362 St Nicholas church was rebuilt and has a splendid tower of 1474 with a lacy lantern crown. Only four such crowns exist in Britain and that of St Nicholas is the earliest and by far the most ornate and delicate.
1377 Edward III's renovation of the Newcastle fortress was the last complete repair in its history.
1384 English forces raided as far as Edinburgh
1386 Richard II led a raid into Scotland and sacked Edinburgh
1388 Harry Percy known as Hotspur , clashed in single combat with the Earl Douglas at Barras Bridge, under the walls of Newcastle. This was a prelude to the Battle of Otterburn, fought by moonlight and memorably described by Froissart in his Chronicles, as well as being the subject of a great Border Ballad. Hotspur is the dashing hero of Shakespeare's Henry IV Part One, and is commemorated by a statue on the 43/45 Northumberland Street facade, alongside other Newcastle luminaries like Roger Thornton, Sir John Marley and Thomas Bewick.
1388 William Bishopdale, mayor of Newcastle, fought bravely at the Battle of Otterburn and was granted the privilege (by Richard II) of having a sword borne before him in processions.
1400 Newcastle was the third richest provincial town in England in the 14th century and now became a county with its own sheriff.
1405 Henry IV made a number of visits to the North East, mostly on military business, quelling rebellion and fighting the Scots. His forces took Warkworth by gunfire in 1404. He made a more leisurely tour in 1407.
1410 Great plague.
1415 The Bishop of Durham won a suit against the Newcastle city fathers to recover his third of the Newcastle Bridge. The famous Blue Stone which marked the bridge division is kept by the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries in the Black Gate of the castle.
1415 Henry V discovered a conspiracy among his privy councillors and the head of one, Sir Thomas Grey, was sent to Newcastle for display on the gates
1417 Two Newcastle women, Margaret Usher and Matilda Burgh. dressed up as men and approached the shrine of St Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral
1424 King James I of Scotland passed through Newcastle on his way north and was attended by the gentry of Northumberland as well as his own train of nobility
1426 Newcastle had a cycle of twelve Mystery Plays, performed on Corpus Christi Day. It was a colourful occasion, with banners, church bells and marches to places of performance like the Spital and the Sandhill. The Shipwrights' enactment of Noah's Ark is the only one to have survived. The earliest performance of the plays in Newcastle is said to be 1426..
Roger Thornton (d. 1429) the Dick Whittington of Newcastle, became 'the richest marchant that ever was dwelling in Newcastell', and three times mayor of the town. Thornton was remembered for his liberality to Newcastle, building a town court and also a Maison Dieu or hospital for poor people in the Sandhill. His monumental brass, of the incised Flemish type, is now in Newcastle Cathedral and is said to be the largest brass in the country. It is certainly one of the finest; Thornton's seven sons and seven daughters appear below the principal figures.
1435 Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (the future Pope Pius II) passed through the city (in disguise) on his way south from Scotland - and rejoiced at having reached civilisation in Newcastle, 'founded by Caesar'. He records that the favourite topic of conversation in Scotland was 'abusing the English'.
1442 The Barber Surgeons were incorporated in Newcastle.
1454 Company of Bricklayers formed.
The chief exports of Newcastle in the later Middle Ages were coal, hides, wool and grindstones. The old saying was that there were three things that could be found anywhere in the world - a Scot, a rat and a Newcastle grunston.
1461 Henry VI and Queen Margaret fled to Newcastle after the bloody Yorkist victory at Towton, and attempted to rally their Lancastrian supporters. The victorious Yorkist king Edward IV visited Durham and Newcastle after Towton.
1462 Margaret of Anjou, Henry VI's indomitable queen, landed at Tynemouth with 500 French soldiers. Rebuffed by Newcastle, she left for Berwick.
1465 There was an Anglo-Scottish congress at Newcastle to compose differences.
1464 Henry VI and Margaret ruled England in name from Bamburgh Castle 1463-64, but Henry's Lancastrian forces were routed at Devil's Water near Hexham, by John Neville, Lord Montagu, who had marched there from Newcastle. Lancastrian nobles Lord Hungerford and Lord Roos among others were beheaded on the Sandhill in Newcastle.
1472 Another Anglo-Scottish congress in Newcastle agreed to continue the truce
1478 Plague outbreak in Newcastle
1482 The future Richard III ruled the North for his brother and it was from Newcastle that he recaptured Berwick for the final time.
1484 Agreement was reached that the heir apparent to the Scottish throne be married to Ann de la Pole, niece of Richard III in St Nicholas church Newcastle. Because of Richard's defeat and death at Bosworth, the plan collapsed.
1487 Henry VII, the victor at Bosworth Field, the king who united red rose and white, visited both Durham and Newcastle after the battle of Stoke in 1487, and spent some time in Newcastle seeking to punish supporters of the Simnel rebellion.
1503 The Augustinian Friary at Manors was where visiting English kings used to stay there when prosecuting martial business on the northern frontier. Margaret Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII (and sister of Henry VIII), stopped there on her sumptuous progress to Edinburgh to marry James IV the king of Scotland in 1503.The princess noted the children in surplices singing sweetly on the Newcastle Bridge, accompanied by various instruments.
1513 After the Scots king James IV's death at Flodden, his embalmed body was sent to Newcastle
1525 Newcastle Grammar School was founded by Thomas Horsley, originally in a building in the NE corner of St Nicholas Churchyard.
1533 Henry VIII sent commissioners to meet their Scottish counterparts in Newcastle. A truce was concluded for one year
During the risings of the Northern earls in 1536 and 1569, Newcastle was reluctantly loyal to the king.
1536 Trinity House was founded as a private corporation.
1536 The Guild of Pilots and Mariners was incorporated under Henry VIII
1538 A proposed face to face meeting between Henry VIII and James V in Newcastle did not take place
1538 First recorded use of the phrase: 'Coals to Newcastle'.
1539 The Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII meant that Newcastle's five friaries were taken over by the crown. There were only sixty inmates between them. The Dissolution also broke the monastic restrictions on coal production (at 15,000 tons a year)
1539 First lighthouses erected in North Shields by the Masters and Mariners of Trinity House Newcastle.
1540 St Bartholomew's Nunnery was suppressed by Henry VIII
1542 The Earl of Southampton, one of Henry VIII's chief courtiers, died in Newcastle and was buried there. He had been leading the vanguard of the English army on its march to Scotland.
1542 Newcastle housewives objected to the cooking smells emanating from the quarters of Spanish mercenaries billeted in the town by Henry VIII.
1544 English forces assembled at Shieldfield in Newcastle, prior to the expedition under the Earl of Hertford. Edinburgh burned.
1547 Lord John Grey advocated the undermining of Leith (then occupied by a French garrison). 'The coal myners of Newcastle wyll serve to doo this well inoch; therefore I pray you set yt at work.'
1547 Newcastle was the Duke of Somerset's base for the Pinkie campaign in Scotland. Edinburgh was captured. Somerset (formerly the Earl of Hertford) was the Lord Protector of England (in effect regent) and hoped Mary Queen of Scots would marry young Edward VI of England. On his return, the Protector knighted Robert Brandling, mayor of Newcastle. This campaign was the last between the English and Scottish crowns.
1547 The Company of Hostmen, the wealthy merchants who controlled the coal trade, was incorporated.
c 1550 Newcastle was the third largest town in the country.
1550-53 John Knox resided in Newcastle, probably on Castle Stairs, and preached in St Nicholas church.
1553 Newcastle annexed Gateshead for a short period.
1554 The apprentice boys of Newcastle were a handful for the authorities. An Act of the Merchant adventurers of 1554 thunders against their gay dress and 'tippling and dancing... what use of gitternes [guitars] by night!
1559 Elizabeth I asked the Duke of Norfolk to borrow £700-800 pounds from Newcastle merchants until her own money arrived
1561 Newcastle corporation was unique among towns in maintaining a 'company of fools' from 1561-1635. Fools were otherwise confined to courts or noble families.
1564 A coiner was executed for counterfeiting in the 'Great Innes of Pilgrim Street'.
1566 Some of David Rizzio's murderers, including Morton and Ruthven, fled to Newcastle from Edinburgh.
1574 Newcastle attempted to annex Gateshead. This was resisted by the people of Gateshead and came to nothing.
c 1577 William Camden visited Newcastle and surrounding areas while compiling his Britannia one of the great scholarly achievements of the 16th century. Camden called Newcastle 'Ocellus, the eye of the North, the hearth that warmeth the south parts of this kingdom with fire'.
1577 Nicholas Fenkell a prosperous merchant resided in the city. Fenkle Street is named after him.
1579 The Mayor, aldermen and sheriff of Newcastle wrote to the bailiffs of Yarmouth forbidding their ships to come to Newcastle for coals as usual because of plague in Yarmouth
1579 Plague in Newcastle. 2000 died.
1580 Robert Anderson, a wealthy merchant built his 'Newe house' near the top of modern Grey Street. King Charles I was later a prisoner in this grand edifice 1646-47.
1583 Postal packets from London to Berwick took 42 hours in summer and 60 hours in winter
1584 The ejected Scottish nobles were entertained in Newcastle by order of Elizabeth I
1584 Trinity House Newcastle chartered.
1584 Ultra-protestant ministers driven from Scotland formed a congregation in Newcastle. They followed the order of discipline laid down by James Melville
1588 The Spanish Armada ships were harried by the British navy as far as the Tyne. Earlier in that year William Shakespeare had been in Newcastle (and Carlisle) with the Queen's Men company of actors.
1588 John Udall of Martin Marprelate fame preached in Newcastle.
1589 1,700 died of pestilence. Town physician appointed
1590 The Lord Mayor of London complained that the regulation of coal exports from the Tyne was unfairly raising prices.
1592 In the Newcastle corporation books we find many details of payments for seizing and executing Catholic priests. In August 1592 one of them named Joseph Lampton was hanged, drawn and quartered on the Town Moor in sight of his friends and relations. One John Watson was hunted with sleuth hounds in 1592.
The Elizabethans were proud of the great North East coalfield, which they termed the 'Black Indies'. The celebrated antiquary William Camden describes Newcastle as “Ocellus, the Eye of the North“, the hearth which warmeth the south parts of the kingdom with fire', and Michael Drayton, Shakespeare's contemporary writes of Newcastle:
1594 Thomas Boast, a Roman Catholic priest, was executed on the Town Moor
1595 An attempt to break into the 'common treasury' . Two bloodhounds were hired 'to follow the sent (scent) and trode of those who broke the Town Chamber dore'.
1597 William Ford (being one of the Church Deacons) was put out of the (Edinburgh) Session for consulting with a Warlock in Newcastle in England. Thereafter he made a public repentance before the whole congregation.
Banquets were frequent at this time and there were also visits by waits from quite far afield, including Leeds. There were Scots and Irish minstrels, and dramatic performances by travelling players in the Mayor‘s House (one recorded in 1566) and the Merchants Court where some 800 events were staged by 34 groups of travelling players. Payments are recorded to a man with a hobby-horse, Lord Mounteagles’ bearward and ‘to him that had the lion’.
In 1600 a new charter was given to the town By Elizabeth I. It gave the Company of Hostmen a monopolistic control not only of the municipal government but also of the economic life of Tyneside for a century and a half. No further change was made in the town franchise until 1835.
From 1600 onwards these 'Lords of Coal' represented the borough in parliament, and from 1606, as town magistrates, exercised admiralty jurisdiction over the Tyne. They also owned every one of the twenty-five or more important collieries in the Tyne valley and supplied the capital for the development of the local glass, lime and salt industries. They acted as bankers for the entire Tees/Tweed region. The social link between the landed class and the hostmen was close and fluid, for many landowners, like the Delavals and Lowthers became colliery owners. The Newcastle 'grand lessees' often bought estates or married into the gentry.
1600 The Grammar School was refounded as the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth.
Mystery plays were suppressed in the 1600s as a result of Reformation opposition to the idolatry and pageantry associated with Catholicism.
1601 A contemporary complains that the bulk of coal exported from the Tyne was carried in French or Dutch ships, though the situation was changing.
1603 James VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, passed through the North East on the way to his coronation as James I in London, staying in Widdrington on the first night. He is said to have lodged at the Nag's Head in Newcastle, at the foot of what is now Akenside Hill, where he was entertained by the mayor and prominent citizens for three days.
1603 Newcastle youths were again enjoined 'not to dance or use music in the streets at night': nor are they to deck themselves in velvet and lace - or to wear their 'locks at their ears like ruffians'.
1606 Trinity House Newcastle given authority over the coast from Whitby to Holy Island At first it was mainly concerned with the licensing of pilots but took over the provision of lighthouses on the North East coast in the 18th century.
1608 Crown of St Nicholas rebuilt
c1616-23 James I conferred on Sir Robert Mansell the glass-making monopoly in England from his factories in London and Newcastle.
1617 James I passed through Newcastle on a splendid progress - the only royal visit to Scotland of his reign
1618 The great Ben Jonson, though bulky and getting on in years, walked all the way to Scotland to visit William Drummond of Hawthornden, near Edinburgh. He passed through Newcastle in August, having bought a new pair of shoes in Darlington. He was still wearing them when he came back through Newcastle in January 1619.
1632 Death of Dorothy Lawson in Heaton. Though a recusant and priest-harbourer, she was never subjected to persecution, and her funeral in All Saints church proceeded unhindered.
1633 Charles I visited Newcastle on his way to be crowned in Scotland.
1633 Glass was made in Newcastle for most parts of the kingdom.
1633 Ballast Hills riot started by apprentices on Shrove Tuesday, against the erection of a lime kiln.
1634 Henry Madison, prominent citizen and mayor died. He has a colourful monument in the cathedral
1635 Chapel of Trinity House on the Newcastle Quayside built. The banqueting hall of 1721 has a fine 17th century 'draught of fishes' overmantel.
1635 Institution of a government postal service for towns between London and Edinburgh via Newcastle to run day and night and return in six days.
1636 Severe plague in Newcastle
1639 Apart from King's Lynn, Newcastle was the only major port which declared for the king in the English Civil War. Charles I visited Newcastle in 1639, and progressed along the Tyne to Shields.
1640 Newcastle was occupied by the Scots in 1640 after the farcical battle of Newburn. The Scots army stayed until 1641 and the king indemnified Newcastle to the tune of £60,000.
An indication of the importance of Newcastle at this period is that during the English Civil War, King Christian IV of Denmark supposedly named as his price for assisting Charles I (his nephew) the pawning to Denmark of Orkney, Shetland and Newcastle with its environs. He actually paid for the region - and the money has not been returned! One must suppose that the city, technically, belongs to Denmark.
1644 The Scots returned to Newcastle and besieged and stormed the town 'with roaring drummes', after heroic resistance by the Royalist garrison under Sir John Marley. Newcastle is supposed to have received its motto from a grateful Charles I - FORTITER DEFENDIT TRIUMPHANS. Parliament ordered a day of thanksgiving when the fall of the city ensured London's coal supplies.
1646-7 Charles I, after his capture at Nottingham, was held prisoner by the Scots in Newcastle for eight months, May 1646 - January 1647: a plaque in Market Street marks the event. He spent his time playing chess and 'goff', resting at King Charles' House in Shieldfield, which was demolished some years ago. Newcastle indeed may be unique in holding captive both a king of England and Scotland. When the Scots paraded through Newcastle taking the king to be handed over to Cromwell, they were assailed with brickbats and cries of 'Judas!'
1647 Grass men appointed to take care of the Town Moor.
1649 Oliver Cromwell stayed with his army in Newcastle for three days. As he dined in the mayor's house, he was serenaded by the Town Waits in their blue cloaks and beavers, on the little bridge over the Lort Burn near the Sandhill. He left on 20 October, but returned on 15 July 1650 on his way to the fateful encounter with the Scots at Dunbar.
1649 Pirates active in the North Sea off Newcastle
1649 The first history of Newcastle:Chorographia by William Grey. It has been described as 'a fascinating fragment'.
1649 Newcastle's Puritan elders railed against young mens' use of ribbon and lace, gold and silver thread, and coloured shoes of Spanish leather. Nine recalcitrant youths received the pudding-basin treatment for their hair.
1650 Nuns Moor was purchased by the council and added to the Town Moor.
1650 Fourteen witches and one wizard were hanged on the testimony of a witchfinder, who earned 20 shillings a head.
1650 The regiment that later became the Coldstream Guards first mustered at Berwick. It had been formed from Sir Arthur Haselrigg’s forces at Newcastle and those of Sir George Fenwick at Berwick.
1650 The Horse Guards were formed in Newcastle by Sir Arthur Haselrigg on the orders of Oliver Cromwell. After subsequent name-changes, they became known from 1877 as the Royal Horse Guards (Blues) and now the Blues and Royals. Both Prince William and Prince Harry became cornets (as junior officers are known) in the regiment.
1651 John Cleveland (1613-58) was the most popular poet of his age and no fewer than 25 editions appeared between 1647 and 1700. The poem 'News from Newcastle' (first printed in 1651) is ascribed to him, but it may be the first major poetic work to emanate from Newcastle. Whoever wrote it was a poet of more than usual accomplishment and clearly also knew the Tyne very well. The famous beginning is arresting - and Newcastle is pronounced with the short 'a' that was the norm of polite speech until the early 19th century.
England's a perfect world, has Indies too;1652 John Rushworth was made a freeman of Newcastle. After the Restoration in 1660, according to Isaac d'Israeli, when Rushworth presented to the king several of the Privy Council's books, which he had preserved from ruin, he received for his only reward the thanks of his majesty.
1655 Ralph Gardiner of Chirton accused the Newcastle Corporation of 'tyranny and oppression'. He was imprisoned for illegally brewing in North Shields and contravening the monopoly of the Bakers and Brewers Company of Newcastle. Gardiner petitioned Parliament without success for the abolition of the regulations that forced traders to deal through Newcastle. .
1655 On Dec 28 a group of 'common players of interludes' were whipped in the public market place under a statute passed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
1655-58 Construction of a new Guildhall and Exchange in the Sandhill by Robert Trollop. The Court Room or Guildhall proper has survived to the present.
1657 George Fox , the founder of the Society of Friends or Quakers, came to Newcastle from Scotland. In Newcastle, the Quakers received a hostile reception from the Mayor and his magistrates, and were turned out of town. The Friends' redoubtable foe in Newcastle was Alderman Ledger, who sneered memorably that 'the Quakers would not come into any great town, but lived on the fells like butterflies'.
1658 Horse racing on the Shield Field prohibited.
1659 Oliver Cromwell's son, Richard was proclaimed Protector at Newcastle.
1659 In November, Major General Lambert, the outstanding parliamentarian general arrived in Newcastle in a fruitless attempt to thwart his rival General Monck’s march south.
1660 General Monck arrived in Newcastle on 5 January on his march from Coldstream to London to (eventually) restore the monarchy. He wrote a letter from Newcastle to parliament on 6 January . His regiment, named the Coldstream Guards after Monck’s death in 1670, is the oldest continuously serving regiment in the British army and only recruits from the counties Monck passed through on his way to the capital. Monck‘s historic march was re-created by 100 Coldstream guardsmen in January 2010 in similar snowy conditions.
1663-65 According to Hearth Tax returns, Newcastle was the fourth largest provincial town in England, after Norwich, York and Bristol.
1675 A disease called the 'Jolly Rant' carried off 924 people.
1675 (- 1725) The middle classes of Newcastle were behind only London and Kent in the acquisition of modern consumer goods: clocks, china dishes, knives and forms etc. Houses were built in the modern style.
1676 Sir Francis North, a visiting judge, described the new transport of coal from the 'coalliery' to the staiths using wooden wheels on timber rails. This replaced carriage by pannier or cart.
1681 Holy Jesus Hospital built.
1682 The mayor and corporation started a municipal school at St Anne's Chapel. This was more than twenty years before the foundation of the earliest of the charity schools.
1682 Samuel Pepys travelled to Scotland and visited Holy Island before coming to Newcastle on 29 May. He was met at Clifford's Fort in North Shields by the Mayor and his officials and arrived in Newcastle where he was feted and received the freedom of the city.
1684 Judge Jeffreys sat at Newcastle assizes. The formidable judge was able and impartial in civil cases, but in criminal law it was otherwise. Ambrose Barnes tells us in his memoirs that Jeffreys would sit 'drinking to filthy excess till two or three o'clock in the morning, going to bed as drunk as a beast.' When the court sat, Jeffreys with his raileries and jests then acted the part of a harlequin.' (Jack Pudding erased).
1688 The statue of James II was dragged from its site on the Sandhill in front of the Guildhall and tumbled into the Tyne, as the mayor and corporation declared for the protestant William of Orange.
1691 Old Mansion House built near the Closegate
1696 The Lort Burn in Newcastle, by then an open sewer, was covered in. This was some forty years before the same was done with the Fleet in London.
1698 Celia Fiennes (1662-1741) the famous traveller, considered that Newcastle 'most resembles London of any place in England...' She thought the shops good and the markets cheap. She describes in her inimitable style, 'little things look black on the outside and soft sower things.'.
By 1700 the hinterland of Newcastle was one of the country's leading centres of iron and steel production. Lead production rose to 1500 tons in the 1730s.These products stimulated rather than superseded traditional Newcastle exports like grindstones and agricultural produce.
1700 Mary Astell, born near Newcastle Quayside, was 'the first respectable female writer' and has been called incalculably influential. In 1700, her tract Some Reflections upon Marriage pleads that men should look on women as reasonable creatures and not confine them 'with chain and block to the chimney corner.' The 1706 edition asks: 'If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?'
1701 The Keelmen's Hospital erected at the keelmen's own charge
1701 Murder of Ferdinando Forster by Sir John Fenwick. Forty shillings reward was paid for the apprehension of Fenwick, who was hanged near the murder site, the White Cross.
1701 Position of town physician allowed to lapse.
1702 Assay Office opened
In his Tour Thro the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724-27), Daniel Defoe declared himself impressed by Newcastle and its quays. He marvelled at the amount of coal shipped from the port. and concludes; 'They build ships here to perfection, I mean as to strength and to bear the sea.'
1705 John Taylor, a visiting lawyer was so taken by three Newcastle beauties that he hired musicians to serenade them.
1705-9 Four charity schools were founded by private endowment in connection with churches inside the town walls. Numbers of pupils were limited (by 1760 not more than 44 boys or 20 girls at any one school).
1706-8 Defoe was active in Newcastle as a secret government agent under the name of Alexander Goldsmith.
1709 Dame Allen's School founded with 40 boys and 20 girls.
1709 Keelmen struck for several months
1710 Defoe was back, this time as Claud Guilot. He took lodgings in Hillgate just across the river in Gateshead. Defoe championed the Keelmen, a familiar sight for centuries, rowing the coal down river to the waiting sea-going colliers.
1712 The brethren of Trinity House founded a school. The master received an annual salary of £16. This was followed by a similar school for fifteen boys opened by the Unitarians at their chapel in Hanover Square.
1715 Jacobite rebels deterred by the garrison at Newcastle and marched south via Carlisle instead.
1715 Newcomen pumping engines working at Byker colliery
1715 Elizabeth Elstob, 'The Saxon Nymph', born near the Newcastle Quayside, was proficient in eight languages and produced Rudiments of Grammar for the English-Saxon... with an Apology for the Study of Northern Antiquities, the first ever such work by a woman.
1721 Horse racing transferred from Killingworth Moor to the Town Moor.
1723 Duel in Nunnery Gardens. Captain Lilburn was killed by Edward Riddell, a lawyer.
1724 William Stukely, who travelled the length of the Roman Wall, wrote of Newcastle:
'They speak very broad, so that as one walks the streets, one can scarce understand the common people, but is apt to fancy oneself in a foreign country.'1728 The Beggar's Opera was put on simultaneously at the Moot Hall and in Usher's great booth, by two different companies
1732 Shakespeare's Tempest was given in the Moot Hall.
1732 John Horsley of Newcastle published his celebrated Britannica Romana, the first scientific treatise on Roman Britain.
1736 Brand's History of Newcastle
1736 Newcastle's Sunday Quayside market mentioned for the first time, though it is thought to be far older
1736 Charles Avison began his subscription concerts.
1738 The authoritarian and contentious Richard Dawes was appointed head of the Grammar School. He afterwards became unhinged.
1738 Shield Field enclosed and became private property 'to the great displeasure of the townspeople'.
1740 Guildhall riots over corn prices.
1742 John Wesley was shocked by the drunkenness and swearing 'even from the mouths of little children' when he came to Newcastle, but soon developed a fondness for the town and its people. He preached at the Sandgate on 30 March 1742, and established the Orphan House in Northumberland Street as the northern headquarters of his Methodist movement.
1743-51 Charles Wesley preached repeatedly in Newcastle and surrounding towns
1744 Mark Akenside (1721-70) was the first Newcastle literary man to make a national name. The poet-physician was born at 33 Butcher bank (now Akenside Hill). He trained in Edinburgh and abroad and eventually rose to be physician to the queen in 1763. It was while visiting relations at Morpeth that he conceived the plan for Pleasures of Imagination (1744, rewritten 1757) his most celebrated work.
1745 General Wade encamped on the Town Moor with some 15,000 men and two hundred guns ready to repel Bonny Prince Charlie's forces. John Wesley gives a graphic account of the atmosphere in Newcastle at the time.
1745 November. General James Wolfe arrived in Newcastle by sea from Flanders. He joined the English forces campaigning against Bonny Prince Charlie.
1745 Ann Fisher published her extremely popular work: A New Grammar: Being the Most Easy Guide to Speaking and Writing the English Language Properly and Correctly (1745). No woman had written anything like it before, and it went through thirty editions before 1800.
1746 First lunatic asylum established with 19 inmates.
1747 Theatre at Turk's Head Inn opened
1750 Thomas Spence the utopian thinker born in Love Lane.
1750 Coal exported from Newcastle now double what it was in 1700.
1752 Charles Avison wrote his Essay on Musical Expression the first ever such work
1752 The General Infirmary formally opened on Forth Banks. It had 90 beds.
1753 Oliver Goldsmith, apparently spent two weeks in the Newgate gaol, on suspicion of travelling to join the French army.
1755 Ralph Carr founded the first bank in Newcastle, the oldest provincial bank after Nottingham.
1755 On 14 June 2400 salmon were taken from the Tyne at Newcastle
1757 The effigy of Admiral Byng 'the villain who would not fight' at Minorca, was pulled through the city on an ass and burned on a scaffold in the Fleshmarket. Byng was shot for cowardice - 'to encourage the others' as Voltaire famously put it.
1758-89 Elizabeth Montagu The queen of literary London' was a frequent visitor to the family manor house East Denton Hall. She enjoyed a vigorous social life in Newcastle and ordered Northumbrian delicacies for her houses in London and Berkshire. Elizabeth enjoyed her miners' singing in the pit, but considered their dialect 'dreadful to the auditor's nerves'
1758 On 20 June over 2000 salmon landed
1758 Susannah Fleming was pilloried at the White Cross for fortune-telling. She was rescued in fainting condition by a sailor, who carried her down on his back.
1760 The New Ranelagh pleasure gardens opened.
1761 Two hundred militiamen were sent from Newcastle to deal with the Hexham Riot (over drafting for military service during the Seven Years War).
1761 William Herschel co-directed a concert in Newcastle.
1761 John Brown became vicar of St Nicholas in 1761. His Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (1757-8) was a popular national success and earned him the title of 'Estimate Brown'. He is mentioned in Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. His work was of abiding interest in France (Robespierre called his dog 'Brown')..
1763 The streets within the walls were lit by public oil lamps.
1764 Great solar eclipse delayed Sunday services till noon
1764-68 St Anne's Church on City Road built by William Newton
1766 Tobias Smollett visited Newcastle and set scenes in Humphrey Clinker and Roderick Random there.
1767Newcastle Lunatic Asylum opened.
1768 A sailor was killed by a bull being baited on the Sandhill
Following the lapse of the Licensing Act in 1695, Newcastle became the most important printing centre in England after London, Oxford and Cambridge. In the 1770s, the town published more children's books than any other outside London. Few towns had more than one local newspaper: Newcastle usually boasted three, of which the Newcastle Courant, founded in 1711, was the first newspaper north of the Trent. Periodicals were rare outside London, Dublin and Edinburgh: Newcastle had ten during the 18th century. By 1790, the town could number twenty printers, twelve booksellers and stationers, thirteen bookbinders and three engravers, including the internationally celebrated Thomas Bewick. In addition, there were seven subscription libraries, as well as St. Nicholas parish library with its 5000 books. There were also three circulating libraries, including that of Joseph Barber in Amen Corner, which had over 5000 volumes, one of the largest collections outside the capital. There were 180 inns and coffee-houses where the new culture was disseminated.
1771 Tyne bridge destroyed by flood. It was temporarily replaced by a ferry.
1771 The Duke of Cumberland ('Butcher Cumberland') the victor at Culloden, visited Newcastle and distributed ten pounds to the Newgate prisoners.
1772 John Scott the future Lord Eldon eloped with Bessie Surtees from the first-floor window of her father's house on Sandhill.
1773 Samuel Johnson arrived in Newcastle on 11 August, on his way to join Boswell for their celebrated tour of Scotland. He seems to have stayed several days in the town, presumably with William Scott, the future Lord Stowell, who accompanied him to Edinburgh.
1773 Night police established in Newcastle.
1773 The freemen saw off all attempts to enclose the Town Moor in 1773. James Murray took an active part in a unique political campaign which interest far beyond Tyneside.
1774 River Tyne frozen over for some four miles below the bridge. Two young men skated six miles in 15 minutes.
1774 Robert Sand's library in the Bigg Market was frequented in the 1770s by Jean Paul Marat, who was working in the city as a doctor. The famous revolutionary published his first political book The Chains of Slavery (1774) in Newcastle and a copy of the first edition is kept in the Literary and Philosophical Society library.
1774 The Newcastle assemblies begun in the house of Sir William Creagh in Westgate Street, continued in David Newton's elegant Assembly Rooms of 1774, which replaced those of 1736 in the Groat Market, and still stand in Fenkle Street.
1774 John Howard (1726-90) the great penal reformer visited Newcastle and approved of conditions in Newgate gaol. He also found proper bedding and heating provided at the House of Correction in the Manors. By contrast he was disgusted by conditions in the county gaol, then housed in the basement dungeon of the castle keep. .
1775 In what is now called White Knights in Spital Tongues was the private asylum, where James Boswell used to visit his mentally unstable brother John. Boswell was there in May 1775 and again in March 1776.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the Lord Mayor of Newcastle aboard his ornate barge would, in the manner of the Doge of Venice, beat the bounds of the Tyne between Sparhawk and Hedwin Stream on Ascension Day. Newcastle's rich corporate ceremony rivalled that of London - but it was exclusive. The workers were merely to watch. So they made their own indecorous parades.
1776 John Howard made a second visit, followed by others in 1779 and 1782.
1776 The Tyne froze from Newburn to 2 miles below the bridge.
1776 South Shields postman executed on the Newcastle Town Moor for the theft of 2 £50 notes.
1778 Boswell and Johnson discussed Wesley's interview with a Newcastle girl who had seen a ghost. Boswell had found the evidence unsatisfactory.
1778 Five ‘coffee and punch’ houses existed in the Sandhill area. There is also a reference to a coffee house in Gateshead in 1710. In Bessie Surtees House, Nellies Coffee House traded until 1781, when it was replaced by Bella’s. A coffee house traded in Milbanke House until 1757.
1781 Castle Garth Theatre opened.
1781 Georgian Tyne Bridge opened.
1782 The original Chimney Mill on Claremont Road was the first five-sailed smock mill in Britain. It was erected by the celebrated John Smeaton, builder of the third Eddystone lighthouse. The sails and fantail were removed in the 20th century and the building now houses architects and design offices.
1783 The names of streets were put up for the first time.
1783 A tide stone 3 feet high and inscribed with the shield of Newcastle upon Tyne was erected on the bank of the Tyne at Heddon-on-the-Wall. It marks the tidal limit of the river and the limit of the jurisdiction of the Port of Tyne authority.
1783 25 October, James Graham, the 'king of quacks', with his electrical baths, pills and potions, and his 'celestial' electro-magnetic bed stuffed with stallion hair, was banned from lecturing in Newcastle by the Mayor, Mr Atkinson, although he had lectured there twice before.
1786 David Stephenson's great elliptical All Saints church built. .
1786 The Count de la Motte, implicated in the notorious diamond necklace affair which had compromised Marie Antoinette, fled to England to avoid giving evidence. In Newcastle a scheme to drug and abduct him aboard a French ship in the Tyne misfired.
1786 Lunardi, the Italian balloonist, who had made the first hydrogen balloon ascent in England at Moorfields, London, prepared an ascent in Newcastle. A mishap with the moorings, however, led to the death of an assistant.
1787 Lemington glass works opens.
1787 Robert Burns 'collected' Auld Lang Syne from a street singer in Newcastle
1788 Matthew Ridley died. His monument by the noted sculptor John Bacon is the best in the cathedral
1788 A menagerie visited Newcastle. Thomas Bewick drew the ‘Royal Numibian Lion’ which figured in his Quadrupeds
In the 18th century, Newcastle was the largest glass-producing centre in the world, and the beautiful and elegant Newcastle Light Baluster was created. About 7 inches tall and lighter than other glasses, hence the name, no two are the same except by matched design. William Beilby was the first man in England, perhaps the world, to fire enamels into glass. A single Beilby glass can be worth up to £50,000.
1789 Bourne's History of Newcastle
1789 A permanent Circus and Riding School was built near Forth Walks.
1790 Thomas Bewick published his immensely popular General History of Quadrupeds followed by History of British Birds. Bewick, like Avison, rejected a career in London and was addressed enviously in verse by Wordsworth as: 'The poet who lives on the banks of the Tyne'.
1790 Newcastle’s centuries-old Town Waits disbanded for reasons of economy. Avison had been the son of a Town Wait.
1791 James Graham lectured in Newcastle, when he and a young woman gave a mud bath exhibition in the field adjoining Hanover Square. The young Emma Hamilton used to work for Graham in this capacity.
1793 The Literary and Philosophical Society was founded by the Reverend William Turner and others - over fifty years before the London Library. The Lit and Phil library (still in existence) contained works in French, Spanish, German and Latin; its contacts were international, and its members debated such issues as American science and Scottish political economy. Its members, including Thomas Bewick, did not regard themselves as provincial in any derogatory sense. 'Their aims and ambitions were every bit as large as those of London critics, and they certainly did not wish to imitate London culture or embrace its values.
1794 Thomas Addison, the great diagnostician, was born in Long Benton.
1795 William Wordsworth was in Newcastle in January 1795, visiting his sister Dorothy, then staying with the Miss Griffiths in Northumberland Place: 'Very chearful pleasant companions and excellent women', as she records.
1799 Some 1,000 Cossacks en route to Guernsey were driven into the Tyne by bad weather. Their officers created considerable interest in Newcastle, and the privates caused amusement with their 'strange tastes and nasty habits'.
1799-1803 Sir Henry Holland travel writer and physician to Prince Albert spent four years of happy schooling in Newcastle with Rev. William Turner.
1801 The population was 28, 294 according to the first national census.
Stephen Kemble of the celebrated theatrical family (and the only approachable one) was manager of the Theatre Royal in Newcastle from 1792 until 1806. Many famous stage stars appeared for him, including his sister, Sarah Siddons, Charles Kemble, John Emery, the great comic actor from Sunderland, and Master Betty who in 1805 drew £213, the largest house that ever was in Newcastle .
William Purvis (1784-1854) came to Newcastle at an early age and always passed as a native of the place. The immortal favourite of Newcastle people, as Charleton calls him, had a booth on the north side of St Nicholas Square, where he gave two performances every evening. On one occasion his leading man came in with two black eyes. Billy promptly changed the billed play to a performance of Othello! Fordyce remarks in his Local Records: ‘His contributions to the very inadequate stock of harmless pleasures will long be remembered with feelings of pleasure and respect.’
1802 Pilgrim Street Gate on the town walls demolished.
1805 Admiral Collingwood of Newcastle was Nelson's second-in-command at Trafalgar and the first to break the French line and open fire. He clinched the victory after Nelson's death, and succeeded him as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean fleet. He is buried next to him in St Paul's Cathedral. The guns at the base are from Collingwood's flagship Royal Sovereign, the only Trafalgar guns in existence apart from those on the Victory.
1805 Marriage of Edward Moulton Barrett and Mary Graham-Clarke, parents of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, at St Nicholas, South Gosforth.
1809 James Losh, the recorder of Newcastle, was a friend of Wordsworth and was visited by Robert Southey in Newcastle twice in 1809 and once in 1810.
1811 The coaching inns on Pilgrim Street saw a continuing traffic in visiting celebrities. Walter Scott was a frequent transient, and Shelley passed through in 1811 on the way to his first marriage in Edinburgh (Mary Shelley travelled both ways in 1812 and 1814).
1811 William Charles Macready, the celebrated actor, performed in Hamlet at the age of eighteen. Even more daunting, he played opposite the great Mrs Siddons in two plays. She told him: 'Study, study and do not marry till you are thirty.' He heeded her advice.
1812 Battlements and flag turret added to castle keep
1814 The Tyne froze solid and there was much festivity and sport on the ice.
1814 The Tyne Steam Packet , the first steamer on the Tyne, began plying.
1815 The aeronaut Mr Sadler ascended from the Bowling Green (Prudhoe Street) and came down twenty minutes later near the sea in Whitley Park.
1816 Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia visited Newcastle to inspect the mines, glassworks and other industries. He went to Wallsend Colliery and met Thonas Bewick. Nicholas later became the Tsar Nicholas I.
1818 Grand Duke Michael of Russia, Nicholas' younger brother visited Newcastle. He went to Heaton Colliery and visited the glassworks.
1818 On 13 January, amid great excitement, Mosley Street was lit by gas lamps, the first thoroughfare in the world to be so.
1818 The great clown Joseph Grimaldi was performing in Newcastle and ventured down a coal mine. A piece of falling rock terrified him and he at once requested a basket to lift him to the surface.
1818 Robert Hawthorn set up his engineering works in a shed on Forth Street. He was joined in 1820 by his brother William.
1819 A great procession and rally took place on the Town Moor in protest against the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester. As many as 75-100,000 may have taken part. Eneas Mackenzie presided and John Marshall proposed resolutions demanding universal suffrage and annual parliaments.
1821 The unrest over Queen Charlotte prompted riot and destruction of the wine pant. The corporation henceforth retreated and shunned public ceremony.
1822 The great Newcastle firm Fenwick opened.
1822 There were 55 day schools in Newcastle
1822 The Hospital for Diseases of the Eye was opened in Brunswick Place by Dr John Fife, medical man and (then) political radical. This offered free treatment.
1822 George Wilson at the age of 56 walked 90 miles in 24 hours on the Town Moor. He was carried shoulder-high by the 40,000 crowd to the Queen's Head, while the bells of All Saints pealed.
1823 Turner painted Newcastle from Byker Heights
1825-40 Decades before Baron Haussmann was given his Parisian carte blanche from Louis Napoleon (landing Paris with a £35 million debt, and being dismissed two years later), Richard Grainger and John Dobson were completing the first comprehensive rebuilding of a modern city. The centre of Newcastle was transformed into an elegant Regency city. Moreover, unlike Paris, Newcastle retained the characterful mediaeval pattern of its streets. It should be remembered that the buildings of Newcastle differ from Nash's London work by being of finely-cut ashlar, as opposed to the capital's stucco.
1827-31 George Stephenson (1781-1848) and his partners set up the firm of Robert Stephenson & Co in Forth Street. The famous locomotive Rocket, like Locomotion No. 1 , was built there. These engines took shape under the direction of Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) and most of the subsequent design improvements were due to his skill. Robert married Fanny Sanderson in London and took his bride to 5 Greenfield Place. The period 1827-31, which yielded such splendid results, was the happiest in his career.
1827 The Duke of Wellington visited Newcastle and was entertained by the mayor at the Old Mansion House in the Close.
1827 John James Audubon, the celebrated American ornithologist and artist visited Newcastle and has left us a description of Thomas Bewick and his workshop.
1828 Controversy over the purchase by the Lit and Phil of Byron's Don Juan
1828 John Graham Lough presented his cast of Milo to the Lit and Phil, thus precipitating a 'battle grim and great' among the members.
1829 A woman was executed on the Town Moor after being conveyed there sitting on her coffin. The crowd numbered 20,000, half of them women. After the hanging, her body was displayed for six hours in the Surgeon's Hall.
1829 New species of swan identified in Northumberland. It is named Bewick's swan.
1829 The composer Felix Mendelssohn passed through Newcastle on his famous trip to Scotland and the Hebrides (Fingal's Cave). While in Durham he had drawn and painted the cathedral.
1829 Mrs Gaskell (then Elizabeth Stevenson) passed the winters of 1829 and 1830 with the Reverend William Turner in Clavering Place. Her relative, the eminent physician and travel writer, Sir Henry Holland had spent four happy years of schooling with the family (1799-1803) then at 248 Westgate Road. Turner's social, practical Christianity appealed to Elizabeth's compassion and sense of justice as evinced in novels like Mary Barton and the controversial Ruth, her Newcastle novel as she called it. She also showed a cheerful familiarity with Newcastle in Sylvia's Lovers. Elizabeth wrote to Miss Fox in 1849: "I picked up quantities of charming expressive words in canny New Castle."
1829-34 Leazes Terrace built by Thomas Oliver. A superb 'Tyneside Classical' block with characteristic minimal ornament.
1831 Huge demonstrations took place in Newcastle in support of the Great Reform Bill. A gathering of 50,000 on Cow Hill was addressed by notable local radicals such as Thomas Doubleday, Eneas Mackenzie, Dr Fife. Tommy Hepburn was also on the platform.
1831 A severe outbreak of cholera spread from Sunderland. The famous John Snow was working as a doctor's assistant in Newcastle at the time.
1832 Meetings of Tommy Hepburn's Union during the great year of confrontation with the owners (1832) were held at the Cock in the Head of the Side.
1832 Charles Redwood was fined £100 and spent one month and one day in prison for smuggling: 954 gallons of brandy; 648 gallons of Geneva (gin) and 28 bales of tea.
1832 Isambard Kingdom Brunel visited Newcastle and stayed at the Queen's Head.
1832 The Newcastle School of Medicine and Surgery was founded, owing much to the efforts of the great surgeons Thomas Greenhow and Dr John Fife.
1832 There was great rejoicing at the eventual passage of the Great Reform Act.
1832 The celebrated William Cobbett eventually came north in 1832. A deputation waited on him in Newcastle on 21 September, with an address. Cobbett was much moved.
1833 The demonic fiddler Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840) gave two concerts in the Newcastle Theatre Royal on 9 and 11 September 1833. No doubt Paganini overdid the display. James Losh, the Recorder of Newcastle was not impressed and found his playing ‘much more wonderful than pleasing.’
1833 The first running of the Northumberland Plate on the Town Moor. It was won by Tomboy. Racing was transferred to Gosforth Park in 1881.
1835 The Grainger Markets were opened - the largest in Europe. Adorned with fountains, it was occupied on opening day (22 October) by TWO THOUSAND GUESTS irradiated by gaslight. 'Nothing has been seen like it,' said John Adamson,' since the days of Belshazzar.'
1836 The first permanent professional police force was established.
1837 The new Theatre Royal was opened on Grey Street.
1839 Robert Owen , the celebrated social reformer visited Newcastle
1838 Bainbridges was the first department store in the world, well before the Bon Marché in Paris.
1838 Johan Strauss Senior (1804-49) gave concerts on 29 October in the Assembly Rooms, and on 30 October at the Music Hall. He also conducted for a ball in the Assembly Rooms on 19 November.
1838 The monument to Earl Grey was erected.
1838 William Wordsworth was in Newcastle and was shown 'the magnificent buildings which adorn our town' by John Hernaman, editor of the Newcastle Journal.
1838 The Charter of 1838 produced by the political movement now known by its name contained a number of demands including manhood suffrage, vote by ballot and payment of members of parliament. Most members of the Hepburn union of 1830-32 turned to Chartist activity after they had given up hope of re-forming their shattered association. The North East was not only one of the best-organised regions of the Chartist movement, but it was dominated by the advocates of physical force Chartism.
1838 The eighth annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science took place in Newcastle. Among luminaries attending were Thomas Sopwith; Harriet Martineau; Charles Babbage; William Buckland; Barry, the architect of the new parliament buildings; Murchison and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who gave a lecture on his Thames Tunnel. Also present were William Brandling, George Stephenson, Nicholas Wood and John Buddle (qq.v)
1838 The first running of the Northumberland Plate took place on the Town Moor.
1839 The Newcastle and North Shields Railway Company opened on 18 June. Two steam locomotives named Wellington and Hotspur hauled carriages from Carliol St. Newcastle to North Shields. It was the world's first suburban railway to cater exclusively for passengers.
1839 The great Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor spoke to a packed audience at the Music Hall in Newcastle, despite having suffered a ruptured blood-vessel in the chest.
1839 Chartist riot in the Side
1839 Female Political Union set up in Newcastle. 'Slavery is not confined to colour or clime'.
1840 An attempt at body-snatching occurred, involving the Surgeon's Hall.
1840 Harriet Martineau spent several months with her brother-in-law, the eminent surgeon Thomas Greenhow at 1 Eldon Square. She later moved to Tynemouth, where she stayed for four years.
1841 Franz Liszt (1811-86) the celebrated composer and piano virtuoso travelled from Edinburgh through the North East in 1841. He gave a concert in the Newcastle Assembly Rooms on 25 January and stayed at the Queen’s Head.
1842 Victoria Tunnel (well over two miles) was built under Newcastle for coal wagons to reach the staiths on the river.
1842-46 There was great agitation in the North East in support of the repeal of the Corn Laws. John Bright and Richard Cobden came several times to Newcastle to address large meetings. The repeal of the Corn Laws helped Chartism to subside.
1843 Robert Owen's lecture in the Reading Room on Nelson Street was broken up by a mob of Irishmen wielding shillelaghs and chair-legs.
1838 First synagogue opened. The cathedral bells were rung and the Newcastle Courant carried a headline in Hebrew.
1844 The Roman Catholic cathedral of St Mary s was built to designs by Pugin. The striking tower is by Joseph Hansom.
1844 Last public execution on the Town Moor (a woman).
1844 The last link in Newcastle-London rail communication completed with the opening of the Newcastle and Darlington Junction Railway. The last mail coach from London to Newcastle ran on 5 July 1847.
1844 Spencer Hall the hypnotist lecturing in Newcastle, mesmerised Harriet Martineau and cured her of her mysterious illness.
1845 Visit of the celebrated dwarf General Tom Thumb, with his wife Lavinia and dwarf son Commodore Nutt.
1846 Visit by American Indians from Iowa with a show of war dances and 'savage songs'
1847 Escaped slave Frederick Douglass spoke in Newcastle. This moved the Richardson sisters to buy his freedom and allow him to resume his American activities.
1848 John Collingwood Bruce gave his celebrated lectures on the Roman Wall in the Newcastle Lit and Phil. The interest aroused was so great that the following year saw the first organised 'pilgrimage' along the Wall. His famous book on the subject was published in 1851.
1848 Fifteen-year-old Hannah Greener of Winlaton died under anaesthetic in the surgeon's office, while undergoing a routine operation for toe-nail removal in Newcastle. She is regarded as the first casualty of chloroform anaesthesia. Sir John Fife and Robert Glover carried out the autopsy.
1848 Jenny Lind, the 'Swedish Nightingale'. performed in Bellini's La Sonnambula.
1849 The main sewers of Newcastle, fifteen miles in extent, were in very good condition. The branches and household connections, as in other cities, were not.
1849 Grand banquet held under the glass and iron roof of Newcastle Station to celebrate the completion of the east coast main railway line. Robert Stephenson was present.
1850 The population of Newcastle was 87,000
1850 Robert Stephenson s splendid High Level bridge, the first road-rail bridge in the world, at Newcastle and his Royal Border bridge at Berwick were both formally opened by Queen Victoria. Brunel s design for the High Level had been rejected.
1850 John Dobson, the celebrated Newcastle architect, argued for the role of his profession in building railway stations, and his noble neo-classical Newcastle Central is regarded by many as the finest station in England. It was the first covered station in the world and was the precursor of all great station roofs. .
1850 Parliament passed the River Tyne Improvement Act by which Newcastle had to share control of the river with Gateshead, South Shields, Tynemouth and the Admiralty.
1851 There were 111 schools in Newcastle.
1851 'Monster' meeting on the Town Moor of the Miners' and Seamens' United Association. Six thousand attended.
1852 The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers was established, the first mining institute in the country.
1852 Charles Dickens had been in Newcastle in 1836 for the first performance of his The Village Coquettes and returned to act in a bill of three plays at the Assembly Rooms on 27 August 1852, with Wilkie Collins taking part.
1853 1538 people died of cholera in Newcastle
1854 Giuseppe Garibaldi visited Newcastle
1854 Great fire caused by vast explosion in Gateshead. Fifty-three people perished. Hundreds rendered homeless.
1854 Season of Italian opera at the Theatre Royal with the famous Giulia Grisi
1855 Lord Armstrong invented the hydraulic crane, the hydraulic accumulator tower and the Armstrong gun, which re-equipped the British army after the Crimean War with breech-loading artillery. Armstrong handed over the rights of his gun to the nation and received a knighthood.
1856 Louis Kossuth the great Hungarian revolutionary visited Newcastle
1857 Failure of the Newcastle Bank
1858 Christina Rossetti came to see William Bell Scott, and wrote major poems in Newcastle. She visited Marsden Rock and Sunderland, as well as Wallington Hall.
1859 The first dog show in the world was held on 28/9 June at the Newcastle Town Hall. It was organised by William Pape (d. 1923), a game and fishing tackle supplier of Collingwood Street. No bitches or lady competitors were allowed.
1859 Jules Verne was impressed as he travelled south through the coalfield by the fact that some mines ran out under the sea-bed. In Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea Captain Nemo's crew dig coal from subterranean seams, like the mines of Newcastle .
1860 Formation of the Newcastle Choral Union
1860 William Boutland Wilkinson (1819-92) a Newcastle builder may be taken as the inventor of modern reinforced concrete. He took out a patent in 1854 and erected a number of concrete buildings in and around Newcastle c 1860, the first such structures in the world. Pictures exist of a cottage of c 1860, on a plot close to Wilkinson’s cement works, off Ellison Place. The reinforcing metal ropes were still in good condition when the cottage was demolished in 1954. Wilkinson himself lived at 5, Ellison Place from 1866.
1860 Female Christie Minstrels performed in Newcastle. These were seven young black girls who spiced their act with political comments.
1861 Dickens also gave readings at the Gaiety Theatre in Nelson Street in 1861, and remarked of Newcastle's citizens:
Although the people are individually rough, they are an unusually tender and sympathetic audience, while their comic perception is quite up to the high London average.1861 the Original African Opera Group sang in the Concert Hall, Nelson Street to raise money for the Children's Hospital. They returned in 1862 and sang Italian arias.
1862 Algernon Swinburne, the scandalous poet (and fervent Northumbrian patriot) had a mighty grinder extracted by a Newcastle dentist, and was stranded for lack of tin at the Turf Hotel in Collingwood Street (he was rescued by Lady Pauline Trevelyan of Wallington Hall). He was a frequent guest of William Bell Scott in St Thomas Crescent. In December 1862, accompanied by Bell Scott and probably Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Swinburne declaimed his poems on the Long Sands, Cullercoats.
1862 William Gladstone visited Newcastle and declared Grey Street to be 'our finest street'.
1862 Dante Gabriel Rossetti was painting Maria Leathart at 14 St Thomas Crescent. His studio there is still prominently marked.
1862 Blaydon Races, the Geordie Anthem was sung for the first time in Balmbra's Music Hall by Geordie Ridley
1862 A touring black American concert party The Real Blacks played a side of local cricketers on the Town Moor - and won.
1862 Joseph Cowen became proprietor and editor of the Newcastle Chronicle. In the 19th century the city regularly returned Liberal members of parliament who, for the most part, adopted distinctive radical causes. Joseph Cowen (1829-1900) interested himself in European revolutionary movements. He joined his father in his Blaydon brick business, smuggling documents abroad in the consignments of bricks. He numbered among his guests and friends Mazzini, Garibaldi, Kossuth, Louis Blanc and Ledru-Rollin, as well as Herzen and Bakunin. His purse assisted them and his pen advocated their cause.
1862 Monument to George Stephenson erected
1863 Hospital for Sick children opened in Hanover square.
1863 The great biologist and teacher Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin's Bulldog, visited Newcastle as a member of the Royal Commission on Fisheries. He also attended the meetings of the British Association held in Newcastle this year.
1867 Joseph Cowen founded the Tyne Theatre and Opera House.
1867 Mr Mawson, the sheriff, Mr Bryson, the town surveyor and others killed while attempting to bury some nitro-glycerine in the Town Moor.
1867 Charles Dickens records being knocked flat and soaked by a mighty wave at Tynemouth on 4 March. His great friend, John Forster, was born in Fenkle Street in Newcastle and is recognised as the first professional biographer in nineteenth century England. His Life of Dickens (1872-4) is still regarded as a standard work. Dickens described Forster's London home as Mr Tulkinghorn's residence in Bleak House and immortalised his pompous but lovable friend as Mr Podsnap in Our Mutual Friend.
1867 William Rea, the driving force behind Newcastle music at this period instituted the first Promenade Concert in Newcastle.
1868 The first Australian cricket team to tour Britain was made up of aborigines. They played Northumberland in Newcastle on 21-22 August and drew the game. They also entertained the crowd with an exhibition of boomerang-throwing. One of the team could run the 100 yards backwards in 14 seconds.
1869 Jem Mace British heavyweight champion appeared at the Victoria Music Hall. Also present was James Renforth the great Tyneside oarsman.
1870 Charles Bradlaugh MP addressed several miners' meetings in Newcastle.
1870 A post box of the Penfold type stands on Osborne Avenue
1870-74 Oliver Heaviside, physicist and eccentric genius worked in Newcastle as a telegraph engineer. He published his first mathematical papers here in 1872 and 1873.
1871 Robert Spence Watson (1837-1911) helped to found the Durham College of Science, which later became Armstrong College and developed into Newcastle University.
1871 Strike at Armstrongs for a nine-hour day. John Burnett skilfully handled the workers' side.
1872 Rea introduced the music of Wagner to the city
1873 Joseph Cowen became Liberal MP for Newcastle in 1873 and was complimented on his maiden speech by Disraeli.
1873 Leazes Park opened.
1874 Turkish Baths opened in Pilgrim Street. These were praised by Lily Langtry, mistress of Edward VII.
1874 T. H. Huxley was a great friend of Lord Armstrong, and from 1874 onwards spent annual holidays at Cragside. His daughters Madie and Jessie would go dancing in the city with Andrew Noble's daughters.
1875-77 Henry Sidgwick president of the Society for Psychical Research conducted a series of sittings with Newcastle mediums Miss C.E. Wood and the celebrated Miss Fairlamb (later Mrs Mellon). and her spirit guides 'Cissie' and 'Geordie'.
1876 William Lloyd Garrison, the American anti-slavery campaigner visited Newcastle.
1876 Lord Armstrong's hydraulically operated Swing Bridge on the site of the Roman crossing was begun in 1868 and opened 1876. It was 281 feet long and weighed 1450 tons. It was lifted into place by a hydraulic crane. It was the largest of its type in the world.
1877 Gosforth Rugby Union Club was founded at 1 Gosforth Villas by ex-Durham students. Their first match was against Northern founded in Elswick two years before.
1877 Huge celebration in Newcastle in honour of President U.S. Grant.
1877 Anton Rubinstein played in Newcastle
1878 The great Portuguese novelist Eca de Queiros (pronounced Essa) paints an unpleasant picture of Newcastle town centre in the late 1870s:
An enormous brutish crowd, rough and noisy, fills the wide streets, harshly lit by shining gas lamps and shop windows; the bars, the gin palaces are ablaze with light... drunks stagger about, punching each other; on a street corner a preacher ... howls verses from the Bible... Prostitutes pester insolently, demanding money... two enormous policemen drag an old woman away, drunk and cursing; groups of miners, pipes in their mouths, greyhounds at heel, talk in the rough speech of Northumbria; amorous couples go by, arms round each other, kissing shamelessly; the whistles of locomotives pierce the thick air... and in the squares and alleys, on restaurant pianos, drunken patriots sing the new war song We don't want to fight, but by Jingo if we do...! shouting that the Russians shall not have Constantinople!1878 Sir Joseph Swan described his filament lamp to the Newcastle Chemical Society in 1878 (and demonstrated it on 3 February 1879 before an audience of 700), thus launching electric lighting as we know it (he really does have the priority over Edison). Thus the Lit and Phil was the first public building in the world to be lit by electric light bulbs. Mosley St in Newcastle was the first street in Britain to be lit be electric light bulbs at night - as it had been one of the first to be lit by gas, in 1818.
1878 Hancock Museum opened. The building is beautifully Dobsonian despite its late date.
1879 George Waller of Newcastle won the world long-distance cycling championship in the Agricultural Hall in Islington, where he rode 1400 miles in six days on a penny-farthing.
John Hunter Rutherford (1826-1890) as early as the 1870s, began the practice of giving free breakfasts to poor children in the Bath Lane School on Sunday mornings. He also founded ‘The Hoppings’ on the Town Moor, as a temperance festival. Rutherford was the pioneer of free secondary and technical education in Newcastle, his chief aim being to establish an educational ladder from the elementary school to the university. It was to this end and under his inspiration that the school afterwards known as Rutherford College (opened by the Duke of York in 1893) was gradually evolved. The prominent Rutherford Memorial Fountain (1894) stands in Bigg Market. One panel declares ‘Water is Best’.
1880 The Chamber Music Society founded and gave concerts in the Old Assembly Rooms. Eminent visiting violinists included Joachim, Eugene Ysaye and Sarasate
1880 Lord Armstrong donated Jesmond Dene to the city.
1880 Mawson and Swan were the largest suppliers of photographic dry plates in the world. The American George Eastman spent two weeks in Newcastle, studying the process. He later established Eastman Kodak and was a founder of the film industry. 1881 The Armstrong 12-pounder rifled breech-loader (R.B.L.) gun was introduced and its great superiority over any previous gun was convincingly demonstrated. As a result, it was adopted as the equipment for both horse and field artillery.
1881 Rea started the Peoples Concerts
1881 Lewis Fry Richardson great meteorologist and sonar pioneer was born at The Gables, Elswick.
1882 Newcastle was constituted a city on 5 July 1882, and St Nicholas Church now became a cathedral.
1882 Race meetings transferred from the Town Moor to Gosforth Park
1882 Prince Peter Kropotkin lectured in Nelson Street.
1882 In London the Mansion House and Royal Academy were equipped with Swan bulbs from Newcastle. D'Oyley Carte installed over a thousand at the Savoy for the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Swan also had a contract with the Paris Opera.
1883 Newcastle was now the second port in the country
1883 Newcastle assay office (three castles) closes.
1884 Visit by the Prince of Wales and family
1884 Opening of Royal Mining, Engineering and Industrial Exhibition by the Duke of Cambridge. Over 2 million admissions between April and October.
1884 The Hon. Charles Parsons invented the high-speed turbine in 1884 in Newcastle,
1885 Robert Spence Watson was president of the Tyneside Sunday Lecture Society until 1911. Speakers included Oscar Wilde, Bradlaugh, Nansen, Kropotkin, and William Gladstone.
1886 Hans Richter and the Hallé Orchestra visited Newcastle
1887 The Fleming Hospital opened
1888 Henry George the economist visited Newcastle.
1889 British Association met in Newcastle.
1890 (-1963) The Empire Music Hall, palatial and richly decorated 'in the arabesque style' was built by the famous Frank Matcham. The Empire circuit was the acknowledged brand leader and attracted the best talent, including the likes of Marie Lloyd. It also charged more. The manager and owner of the North Eastern Empires from 1855-1922 was Richard 'Dick' Thornton, born in South Shields but resident in his Gosforth villa. He was famous for his car, Stetson hat and cigar.
1890 (and again in 1892) Adelina Patti sang at the Police Concert
1890 Charles Widor the French organist and composer performed at the installation of the Grand Organ in St Nicholas Cathedral. His toccata is often used as an alternative to Mendelssohn at weddings.
1890 Death of John Clayton, town clerk for 45 years. His estate sworn at £728, 746.
1891 The Walker ironworks closed down
1891 Beatrice Webb attended the Trades Union Congress in Newcastle, staying at the Bath Hotel in Tynemouth. Sidney Webb stayed at another hotel and pretended to be her secretary.
1892 The Newcastle Programme proposed at the meeting of the National Liberal Federation by Mr Gladstone: reform of the House of Lords; one man, one vote; shorter parliaments; paid members; settlement of the Irish question; land laws etc.
1892 Newcastle United Football Club formed
1892 An artisans' golf club was formed at Lockhart's Cocoa Rooms in Clayton Street. This club continued to play on the Town Moor until 1975.
1894 The lifting gear of Tower Bridge in London was made by Armstrong Mitchell in Newcastle, though the original machinery is no longer in use except for the bascule pivot and the drive shafts.
1894 Parson's Turbinia, the first turbine-powered ship in the world was launched on the Tyne. It is now on view at Newcastle Discovery. At the Spithead review in 1897, she daringly steamed through the rows of Royal Navy ships at an uncatchable 40 m.p.h., and revolutionised the navies of the world.
1895 The Newcastle Dental School and Hospital was founded in Nelson Street by six local dental surgeons.
1895 The Old Mansion House burned down.
1895 Ove Arup the great civil engineer was born in Jesmond.
1895 Miss Nettie Honeyball brought her British Ladies football team to the North East and gave three exhibition games, at Mowbray Road South Shields, Feethams in Darlington and St James Park, Newcastle. This latter match, on 28 April drew a crowd of 8000. The team played another game at Jesmond in 1896.
1895 Marks and Spencer opened their Penny Bazaar in Grainger Market. It is now the only one still trading, the smallest M and S in the world - and still has its original signage.
1896 The first provincial showing of the cinematograph at the Palace Theatre in March.
1896 Formation of the Newcastle and Gateshead Choral Union (of up to 400 voices)
1896 The Savoy published Bernard Shaw's description of a visit to St George's Church, Jesmond.
1897 Robert Spence Watson published The History of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1897. He had been honorary secretary of the Society for 31 years. Speakers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries comprise a virtual role call of the British intelligentsia.
1898 John Meade Falkner wrote the children's classic Moonfleet in Newcastle.
1898 (- 1938) Newcastle Conservatoire of Music founded.
1898 Fairy Soap launched in Newcastle (it was yellow in colour).
1899 The copyright performance of Bernard Shaw 's Caesar and Cleopatra was given at the Theatre Royal by Mrs Patrick Campbell and company.
1899 The Theatre Royal was gutted by fire. The interior restored by the celebrated Frank Matcham.
1900 Death of Lord Armstrong at the age of 90.
1900 Edward VII as Prince of Wales opened the Royal Victoria Infirmary.
1900 The world's first police chase in a motor car took place in Newcastle on 15 August. The offender was a drunken horseman. The pursuit lasted about a mile.
1900 F.W Rich built a Real Tennis court at Jesmond Dene House. This is still in use; there are only 45 Real Tennis courts in the world.
1900 Basil Bunting, Britain's first and principal modernist poet was born at 21 Denton Road.
1900 Hans Richter and the Hallé Orchestra performed in Newcastle
1901 Hans Richter and the Hallé together with the Newcastle and Gateshead Choral Union gave a performance of The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz
1901 Barge Day took place for the last time.
1902 Electric tramway opened
1903 The fine Queen Victoria monument near the cathedral stands above a plague pit containing 300 bodies. The statue is by Alfred Gilbert, sculptor of Eros in Piccadilly Circus and displays many of his curious mannerisms.
1903 Smallpox outbreak.
1903 John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) gave two concerts in the Newcastle Town Hall on 15 February and again on 18 February. He stayed on this occasion at the Royal Station Hotel.
1903 The splendid Art Nouveau Emerson Chambers was erected in Blackett Street
1903 Edward Elgar (1857-1934) declared that the living centre of music is not in London but somewhere further north. He also conducted concerts of his own music in Bishop Auckland, Newcastle and Sunderland. In a letter to Mrs Kilburn, Elgar refers to a London Symphony concert in Newcastle in 1905 and goes on:
No - really the tea at Newcastle was not good and purveyed by no angel but an evil spirit; there was coal in it and sulphur dioxide and I said things, well which I did not say or feel constrained to say at Episcopal Auckland.1903 Willie Fischer a.k.a. Colonel Rudolf Abel, the Soviet super-spy was born in Benwell.
1903 Statue of Queen Victoria by Alfred Gilbert (sculptor of Eros in Piccadilly Circus)
1904 The railway line from Newcastle to North Shields was electrified, five years before similar developments in London.
1904 Henry Wood and the Queen's Hall Orchestra visited Newcastle
1904 Newcastle United changed their original red-and-white-striped shirts to black and white to avoid clashing with Sunderland.
1905 At the naval Battle of Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War, a key episode in the emergence of Japan as a modern power, all the Japanese guns were made by Armstrongs, who also built at least twelve major warships for the Japanese navy, including three battleships. The famous photograph of the Hatsuse being towed down the Tyne under the High Level bridge encapsulates Britain's industrial strength at this period.
1905 The first beauty contest in Britain was held on 23 December at the Olympia.
1905 Newcastle United football league champions.
1905 Marie Hall, the great Newcastle violinist played one of her many home city concerts. She displayed on stage a repertory of 86 pieces.
1905 Edward Elgar conducted the London Symphony Orchestra
1906 Edward VII visited the city to open the King Edward VII railway bridge.
1906 The chief citizen was granted the title of Lord Mayor.
1906 The Merry Widow performed in Newcastle only a year after its Vienna premiere.
1906 Laing Art Gallery opened.
1906 Admiral Togo's heroes of Tsushima were feted in Newcastle, and taken to watch Newcastle United play Stoke City
1906 Monument to Joseph Cowen erected
1906 'Seaman' Tommy Watson, British champion and contender for the world featherweight title was born in Byker.
1907 Newcastle United football league champions
1907 Ringtons founded by Samuel Smith and William Titterington. Be-Ro (short for Bell-Royal) self-raising flour was also invented at this time by Thomas Bell.
1907 Adelina Patti again sang in Newcastle
1908 Newcastle suffered the top division's record home defeat 1 - 9 to rivals Sunderland. The score was 1-1 at half time.
1908 The newly-founded London Symphony Orchestra performed under the great Arthur Nikisch.
1909 During a visit to Newcastle on 4 and 5 February, Winston Churchill was waylaid by suffragettes at every stage of his two day itinerary, even on his trip down the Tyne on the Sir William Stephenson.
1909 The Three Choirs Festival at which Elgar, Granville Bantock and Rutland Boughton conducted their own works and Ferruccio Busoni played his own challenging piano concerto. He had played in the city in 1901 and 1908.
1909 The corner of St Thomas Street is the site of the Palace Theatre, where the militant suffragettes staged one of their best-organised protests. Lloyd George was making a week-end visit to Newcastle on Saturday October 9, to deliver an important budget speech and a dozen chosen women met Christabel Pankhurst beforehand in a 'lodging-house'. This remarkable gathering included Lady Constance Lytton and Emily Wilding Davison. Walter Runciman's car was hit by the stone thrown by Lady Constance and her book Prisons and Prisoners gives a touching account of her subsequent time in the Charlotte Square gaol in Newcastle. She was sentenced to four weeks, but after a fifty-six hour hunger strike was released, supposedly because of a heart condition discovered by the prison doctor. To expose this preferential treatment, Lady Lytton later dressed up as a working-class girl. Sentenced as 'Jane Warton' in Liverpool, she received quite different treatment this time - and no medical examination.
1909 The Liberal Club in Pilgrim Street had its windows broken by suffragettes in 1909.
1909 Newcastle and Gateshead Choral Union Festival
1909 Newcastle United football league champions.
1910 John Alexander Dickman of Jesmond hanged for murder in Newcastle Prison despite a countrywide campaign for a reprieve. The evidence was purely circumstantial. The murder weapon, curiously, had fired bullets of two different calibres.
1910 Newcastle United won the FA Cup after appearing in five previous finals.
1910 Claude Grahame-White, the first Englishman to gain a British certificate of proficiency in aviation, brought an aircraft to Gosforth Park.
1910 Pachmann played in Newcastle. Other eminent visiting musicians at this time included Fritz Kreisler, Scriabin and Paderewski (several times).
1910 Thomas Beecham brought the Opera Comique with 40 musicians and 100 artistes to perform The Tales of Hoffman and Die Fledermaus in English.
1910 Enrico Caruso sang at the Town Hall in September.
1910 Alfred Edward George using a plane of his own design built in his Forth Banks factory in Newcastle, gained pilots license No. 19 from the Royal Aero Club. In 1911 he built his most famous racing car, a stripped down Ford Model T that won many races at Brooklands and Saltburn. Later it was fitted with a polished brass cigar-shaped body to become the 'Golden Ford'. George raced this at Brooklands in 1912 before Henry Ford himself.
1910-12 J R R Tolkien author of the celebrated fantasy The Lord of the Rings visited Newcastle in each of these years. Tolkien’s father had died when he was 2 and his mother died when he was 12, but both he and his younger brother visited their father's sister, Grace Mountain who lived in 9 St George's Terrace, then moved to Hexham, then 8 Sydenham Terrace, Newcastle. Her husband, William C Mountain, was a member of the North East Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers between 1892 - 1928, and was Vice-President of the Institute in 1925.
1911 Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), the great composer, took part in a concert in Newcastle on 20 January.
1911 Admiral Togo himself, the Japanese Nelson came to the city on a pilgrimage to visit the Armstrong works and stay with Sir Andrew Noble at Jesmond Dene House.
1911 The Newcastle Philharmonic Orchestra founded under Edgar Bainton.
1911 The People's Theatre was founded as The Clarion Dramatic Club. The first performance was of The Bishop's Candlesticks in July 1911. Norman Veitch, one of the founders, remarked: "If were going to murder plays, let's murder the best." In September they performed Shaw's The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet, although it had been banned by the Lord Chancellor.
1912 The Tyne -built ship Carpathia rescued 700 people from the Titanic. The captain and crew were given silver medals by the survivors.
1912 Some 2000 letters damaged by suffragette action in Newcastle.
1912 Catcheside-Warrington published his celebrated Tyneside Songs in three volumes.
1913 A suffragette bomb went off at the Barras Bridge Post Office on 10 June.
1913 Kenton railway station was razed to the ground by the suffragettes 18 September
1913 The first performance of Wagner's Ring Cycle in Newcastle
1914 Women found it difficult to gain entry to orchestras so Hildegard Werner, teacher of Marie Hall, formed her Mignon Orchestra, and a Miss Knocker followed suit.
1914 Lord Haldane visited the Lord Mayor Johnstone Wallace to suggest the formation of the Tyneside Scottish and Tyneside Irish regiments. Both were in action on the first day of the Somme offensive in 1916. Severely depleted, they were disbanded that year.
1914 Gosforth Hall, now known as Brandling House, which backs onto the racecourse grandstand was burnt out by the suffragettes in 1914.
During World War I, Armstrong Whitworth, as one of the few reliable munitions manufacturers, was chosen by Lloyd George to supply the British forces. A third of the artillery pieces in action with the British army on the western front were made by the firm, which in WWI firm produced 1000 planes and 47 warships.
1915 Nikolai Bukharin, the great Bolshevik theorist, was arrested in Newcastle for travelling on someone else's passport. He was released and proceeded on his way via the ferry to Bergen. Arthur Ransome also travelled by this route during and after WWI.
1915 Francis Bacon the painter spent childhood holidays at Jesmond Towers (now the La Sagesse School). He describes it as "slightly smaller than the Houses of Parliament."
1915 J.B. Priestley was billeted in Tynemouth, and made frequent visits to the Newcastle music halls.
1915 Death of Sir Andrew Noble. Lady Noble records that Rudyard Kipling visited the Armstrong works at Elswick
1916 Zeppelins raided the area and bombs fell as near to Newcastle as Cramlington and Ponteland.
1916-17 Yevgeni Zamyatin Russian writer and critic lived in Jesmond overseeing the construction of icebreakers for the Russian imperial government. He later wrote two novellas making scathing fun of the Jesmondians. His masterpiece, WE was banned in the new Soviet Union also draws considerably on his Newcastle experience - and in turn was a major influence on George Orwell s Nineteen Eighty-Four. There is a plaque to Zamyatin at 19 Sanderson Road.
1916 The Blaydon Races were permanently discontinued after a riot following the defeat of Anxious Moments, a heavily-backed favourite.
1916 Edward Elgar conducted the LSO
1918 Basil Bunting was detained in the notorious Guard Room as a conscientious objector.
1918 The hero of The Roll Call, the fourth of Arnold Bennet's Clayhanger tetralogy is an architect who receives a commission in Newcastle. Bennet gives a fine description of the city.
1918 25 August. American forces set sail from Newcastle to Archangel to take part in the 1918-19 allied intervention against the Bolsheviks in Northern Russia. Some Italian units accompanied them as far as Murmansk.
1918 Women munition workers across the North east played charity matches during WWI. Bella Reay was the star centre-forward for Palmers. The first ever ladies’ international football match was played in Belfast on 4 June between Belfast Ladies and Tyneside Ladies; the latter won 4-1 before a crowd of 20,000.
1919 Edgar Bainton's A Song of Freedom and Joy premiered in Newcastle.
1919 There were visits post-war by the ballerina Anna Pavlova and Australian soprano Nellie Melba. In 1919 the great ballerina Tamara Karsavina danced a matinee at the Hippodrome in Northumberland Road.
1920 Edward Elgar conducted the Leeds Choral Union in a performance of The Apostles in St Nicholas Cathedral.
1921 Marie Hall of Newcastle was the outstanding female violinist of her time. Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote his exquisite The Lark Ascending for her and dedicated it to her. She gave the first public performance in the Queen's Hall, London under Adrian Boult in 1921. She owned the great Viotti Stradivarius.
1921 Gustav Holst conducted his Hymn of Jesus in Newcastle - and praised William Gillies Whittaker's Newcastle Bach Choir.
1921 Bernard Shaw attended a performance of Man and Superman at the People’s Theatre. Asked his opinion of the performance, he replied (humorously) ‘infamous’. Shaw was a great supporter of the People’s (see 1936).
1922 James Calvert Spence was associated with the Royal Victoria Infirmary for the rest of his life after 1922. His paediatric work led to the founding of the Newcastle Babies’ Hospital in West Parade in 1925. Here Spence and his staff developed the social paediatrics which will always be associated with his name. Spence began the practice, then unique in Britain, of admitting mothers to hospital with their sick children, so that they might nurse them and feel responsible for the child’s recovery.
1922-27 The novelist Rosamond Lehmann, unhappily married to Leslie Runciman, lived at 72 Sydenham Terrace and began her best-selling Dusty Answer there. Her novel A Note in Music is an unfavourable view of Newcastle at this time.
1923 Ralph Vaughan Williams conducted his Mass in G minor in St Nicholas Cathedral. He too praised the Newcastle Bach Choir.
1923 Be-Ro recipe book published. To date it has sold 38 million copies.
1924 Captain W.E. Johns, the creator of Biggles, worked at the RAF recruiting office in New Bridge Street, while living first in Jesmond and then in Whitley Bay with his beloved Dol Leigh.
1925 Montagu pit disaster. A.J.Cronin based his famous novel The Stars Look Down, set in Newcastle ( Tynecastle ) and on the coast near Blyth ( Sleescale ) on this event.
1925 In October, after Newcastle United had defeated Arsenal 7-0 at St James' Park, Charlie Buchan the former Sunderland star player, and Herbert Chapman discussed the game in their hotel. Buchan proposed the idea of a stopper centre-half, to counter the new offside law. Chapman refined and developed this 'boring' strategy in his great subsequent years with Arsenal.
1925 December 1925 Hughie Gallacher signed for Newcastle United. He scored 143 goals in 174 games for the club.
1925 The first square wooden police-boxes were introduced in Newcastle (two years after being pioneered in Sunderland). They appeared in London 1928-37
1926 The Lord Mayor of Newcastle was alarmed by a hoax BBC programme purporting to describe an actual revolution going on in London. He telephoned another mayor to reassure himself.
1926 The British National Opera Company gave the first performance of Wagner's Parsifal to be heard in Newcastle.
1926 The People's Theatre gave the British premiere of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale and Rutland Boughton himself came to conduct his hugely popular The Immortal Hour.
1927 Newcastle United won the first Division championship. The forward line averaged 5 feet six inches in height.
1927 Colonel James Herbert Porter, became managing director of Newcastle Breweries and introduced the world-famous Newcastle Brown Ale on 25 April 1927.
1927 Newcastle Disease, a deadly bird infection was named after the city where it reappeared after its first outbreak in Dutch East Indies in 1926.
1927 Fairy Soap adopted its modern green colour.
1927 Lucozade was created by chemist William Owen in a shop in Barras Bridge, Newcastle, in 1927. He already had a mineral water factory and had previously experimented with providing a source of energy for the sick. It was made available in hospitals throughout Britain under the name Glucozade before being changed to Lucozade in 1929.
1928 The Tyne Bridge was opened by King George and Queen Mary and though designed and built by the same firm, Dorman Long in Middlesbrough, was earlier than the Sydney Harbour bridge (1932). When built, it was Britain s largest steel arch span at 531 feet.
1928 Armstrongs merged with Vickers.
1928 Flying Scotsman began operating on the LNER route from London to Edinburgh via Newcastle.
1928 The mayor of Gateshead William Edward Wardell (aged 72 and in his fifth term) climbed to the top of the newly-erected Tyne Bridge.
1929 Edward VIII as Prince of Wales was in Newcastle in 1929. In 1932, he saw Rye Hill and Washington.
1929 North East Coast Exhibition opened by the Prince of Wales. It attracted over four million visitors.
1929 The People's Theatre acquired premises in Rye Hill and stayed there until 1962. The venue saw over 500 productions. Dame Sybil Thorndyke visited in 1931 and Shaw made the final stage appearance of his life there in 1936. He commented that the floor was cleaner than it had been on his previous visit. Both Shaw and Dame Sybil took part in a BBC radio programme about the theatre made by Cecil McGivern an ex-Peoples member, in 1939.
1929 Domestos was first produced in a Byker workshop by Wilfred Handley, an industrial chemist, in a bid to improve public health. He also invented Stergene. It was originally sold by door-to-door salesmen. Housewives would bring out their refillable stoneware jars to stock up.
1929-70 Northumberland Fusiliers Museum located at Fenham Barracks. Now in Alnwick Castle
During the 1920s and 30s, fourteen chain stores opened branches in Northumberland Street, including C&A, Marks and Spencer, Woolworths and Burton. The most impressive building was the North Eastern Cooperative in Newgate Street (1929-32) built by L.G.Ekins. It abounds in colourful Art Deco detail.
In the 1930s 15 new cinemas opened in Newcastle.
Although between the wars Tyneside shipyards, incredibly, launched some 25% of the world's merchant shipping, from the 1930s onwards, heavy industry all over the North East began an inexorable decline, until in the 1990s, no coal mines were left, and only one shipyard was functioning. It should be remembered that, as W.M. Hughes commented in his review of the region's history conducted for the 1970 Durham meeting of the British Association:
For sixty years before 1914, the Durham (and Northumberland) pitmen and the shipyard workers of the Tyne and Wear were among the most highly-paid workers in the world outside the USA... The decline into poverty of the inter-war years was from the heights to the depths.1930 The Berlin Philharmonic under Wilhelm Furtwangler came to Newcastle followed by the LSO under Mengelberg and Thomas Beecham, as well as the young Yehudi Menuhin, Paul Robeson and Eva Turner.
1930 A crowd of 68,039 saw Newcastle United play against Chelsea.
1931 Visit of the Famous Glasgow Orpheus Choir under Hugh Roberton
1932 Newcastle United won the FA Cup
1932 Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy visited Newcastle
1932 In December, at St James Hall, Newcastle, Jack 'Cast Iron' Casey of Sunderland was defeated for the British middleweight title by the great Len Harvey.
1932 Wrestling began at the New St James' Hall (the site of the Metro station). Colourful characters included the Blue Mask, (actually a local miner from Chopwell). He retired undefeated (and unmasked) after 300 bouts in 1947. The hall closed in 1968.
1933 At the behest of his publisher, J. B. Priestley (1894-1984) made a tour of England in late 1933. Published as English Journey in 1934, the resultant book, despite its many defects, has been oddly influential in establishing a depressing 'image' of the North East for seventy years.
1934 Rally by Sir Oswald Mosley's British Fascist Movement on the Town Moor.
1934 Arthur Henderson, 'the creator of the modern Labour party', and government minister won the Nobel Peace Prize. His medal is kept in the Mansion House.
1935 Mauretania returns to the Tyne before being broken up in Glasgow
1935 The great pianist/composer Sergei Rachmaninov played in Newcastle on 19 March
1935 Newcastle airport opens
1936 First exhibition by the Ashington Painters .
1936 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited in August.
1936 A rare Edward VIII post box stands on Portland Street
1936 Bernard Shaw made his last appearance on any stage at the People’s Theatre in Rye Hill, after a performance of his Candida. He remarked that the stage was cleaner than the last time he had been.
1937 The greatest English poet of the century, W.H. Auden, came to Newcastle, where his play Hadrian's Wall was broadcast from the BBC studios in New Bridge Street. Benjamin Britten wrote the score and was also present. Auden introduced Janet Adam Smith and Michael Roberts to Britten, and Auden visited them at 37 Fern Avenue, Jesmond.
1937 Three News theatres opened in Newcastle - the Tatler, the Grainger and the News Theatre in Pilgrim Street. This latter is now the only remaining news theatre in existence. Now the Tyneside Cinema, it is being restored to its Art Deco splendour
1938 Artur Rubinstein gave a recital at the Chamber Music Society.
1939 John Gielgud lectured on 'Shakespeare in Peace and War' in the Theatre Royal.
1939 The king and queen visited and saw Newcastle General and the Team Valley.
1939 On 23 February, Kathleen Ferrier made her first musical radio broadcast from Newcastle.
1939 On 23 February, John Robson Gregg opened his first bakery in Newcastle. Now the firm has 1000 outlets countrywide with a turnover of £50 million.
1940 Kathleen Ferrier sang in Messiah at the City Hall
1940 The People's Theatre gave three world premieres of Sean O'Casey's plays.
1940 The popular radio programme 'What Cheor Geordie' began (and ran until 1956). It featured Esther McCracken; Owen Brannigan; Bobby Thompson and the piper Jack Armstrong. The theme song was 'Wherever ye gaan you re sure to meet a Geordie'.
1940 7 July. An air raid on the bridges destroyed the Spillers factory.
1941 Newcastle Goods Station heavily damaged by German bombing, 47 killed. On 1 September 50 people were killed by enemy action.
1941 The king and queen visited the Tyne shipyards.
1941 Winston Churchill visited. Newcastle
1941 The battleship King George V, the flagship of the home fleet, the cruiser Sheffield and the aircraft carrier Victorious took part in the sinking of the Bismarck. They were all built at Walker.
1941 The head of Grey's Monument was destroyed by lightning
1941 Gracie Fields came to Tyneside to entertain the workers (29 July)
1942 General De Gaulle visited Newcastle
1942 John Gielgud appeared in Macbeth.
1943 The king and queen visited Byker and Heaton
1943 C.S. Lewis gave three lectures in Newcastle
1943 Cecil Beaton worked as a war photographer in the Tyne shipyards.
1943-4 Ludwig Wittgenstein, the eminent philosopher, worked at the RVI as a lab technician.
1945 George Orwell's wife Eileen O'Shaughnessy of South Shields died under anaesthetic at Fernwood House hospital, Clayton Road in Jesmond. Orwell was present at the funeral in St Andrew's Cemetery. The headstone is inscribed Eileen Blair. Orwell revisited the grave on his way to Scotland in January 1946.
The war years saw performances by visiting artists in the Laing Art gallery. There were also concerts by the LPO under Malcolm Sargent and Basil Cameron at the Empire Theatre, while the LSO and RPO under Thomas Beecham, great conductor and wit, accompanied soloists like Louis Kentner, Clifford Curzon and Eileen Joyce. The Sadlers Wells Opera and Ballet also appeared.
1946 The Royal Ballet performed with Margot Fonteyn and Moira Shearer.
1946 Pierre Bernac and Francis Poulenc performed in Newcastle
1946 Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop performed Ewan McColl's Uranium 235 in Newcastle. She later met the famous folk singer Alan Lomax there. He asked to be shown the Roman Wall, but this was the prelude to a seduction attempt.
1947 The great Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau gave a concert in Newcastle, as did Jussi Bjorling, one of the century's great tenors. This year also saw the Czech Philharmonic under Rafael Kubelik.
1947 The International Festival of Ballet performed at the Theatre Royal. The company included stars of the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballets. On 7 and 9 August the programmes included Swan Lake, and Les Sylphides.
1947-8 Newcastle United broke the league attendance record with a home average of over 56,000. Before the 1990s only Manchester United did better, and then only once.
1948 The huge DHSS government offices were established in Longbenton.
1948 Visit by the Berlin Philharmonic
1949 Visit by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy
1949 Paul Robeson sang in Newcastle. He had the mannerism of holding a hand over one ear when performing.
Throughout the 1950s the People's Theatre continued to perform the best - Whiting, Pinter, Ionesco, Beckett, Arden, Osborne, Ugo Betti and Fritz Hochwalder. Peggy Ashcroft and John Gielgud launched the theatre's building appeal fund which allowed the purchase of the Lyric Cinema in Heaton and the new arts centre there opened with Shaw's 'Man and Superman'.
1950 Impressive Art Deco Wills tobacco factory opened; now apartments.
1950 Anton Dolin danced at the Theatre Royal. His performance of Ravel's Bolero was hugely impressive. It was this event which inspired Lorna Hill to write her 'Wells' ballet books.
1952 Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy performed at the New Empire on 17 March.
1952-55 Newcastle United won the FA Cup three times
1952-9 Quentin Bell lectured at Newcastle University. He was the son of Vanessa and Clive Bell of Bloomsbury group fame and wrote a notable life of his aunt Virginia Woolf. His wife Anne Popham had been proposed to in 1946 by George Orwell on the first day they met
1953 Laurel and Hardy performed at the New Empire on 23 November.
1954-61 Victor Pasmore developed his basic form course with Richard Hamilton at Newcastle University. This transformed art education in Britain after WWII. The two men were responsible for transferring Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau from the Lake District to the Hatton gallery in 1965. This has been described as the most influential 20th century British work of art.
1956 The Montagu colliery, the last in Newcastle, closed.
1958 The Northern Sinfonia was founded in Newcastle in 1958 as the first permanent chamber orchestra in England. It remains the only such orchestra and enjoys an international reputation.
1958 Sparkie the budgie won a nationwide BBC competition, seeing off 2768 challengers. It can be seen and heard at the Hancock Museum.
1959 Tyne Tees TV began broadcasting from Newcastle on 15 January.
1959 In December, George Eastham took legal action against Newcastle United who wished to prevent him moving to another club. The high-profile case reached the High Court where Eastham was successful. The episode prompted considerable change in the football transfer market.
Night clubs in provincial England began in Newcastle in the 1950s, and when the Liverpool sound was all the rage in the early 60s, Newcastle was the only place to have its own sort of music (which included Eric Burdon and the Animals).
1960-64 T Dan Smith as leader of the Newcastle City Council pushed forward controversial schemes to produce a modern, clean, international Newcastle - the Brasilia of the North . Through him the Northern Arts Association was founded in 1962, the first and largest such organisation.
1962 The centenary of Blaydon Races attracted 500,000 people to Newcastle.
1963 The University of Newcastle became independent of Durham.
1963 Maling pottery closes.
1963 Gerard Hoffnung and his company performed Hoffnung Hogmanay at the City Hall on 2 and 5 January.
1963 The Beatles wrote 'She Loves You' in the Imperial Hotel in Jesmond.
1964 Nancy Spain, famous Newcastle born journalist and TV personality was killed in air crash on the way to Aintree.
1964-76 The Likely Lads and sequels shown on television
1965 The Morden Tower poetry centre opened. Basil Bunting read his masterpiece 'Briggflatts' there.
1967 Angus Sibbert murdered. This gangland killing led via Ted Lewis's novel Jack's Return Home (1969) to the film Get Carter (1971) set in Newcastle and the North East. It has been rated the best British film ever made. A number of London gangsters had moved to Newcastle in the 1960s, and the notorious Kray twins visited the city.
1967 Jimi Hendrix visited Chas Chandler of the Animals in Heaton. He performed in Newcastle on 1 February 1967, and at the Go Go Club on 3 March. He was at the City Hall on 4 Dec of that year.
1968 Newcastle United won the Intercity Fairs Cup.
1968 Allen Ginsberg the celebrated Beat poet performed in the Morden Tower on Newcastle's city walls. Basil Bunting was in the audience.
1968 Close the Coalhouse Door was premiered. The celebrated play was written by Alan Plater, Alex Glasgow and Sid Chaplin (with Bill Hays the noted Wingate-born director) in Sid's front room in Jesmond
1968 King Olaf V of Norway opened the new Civic Centre.
1963-69 Swan House built
1969 Princess Anne visited Newcastle.
1969-82 The Byker Wall development by Ralph Erskine is routinely praised as warm, humane, and visually exciting. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner refers to it as a milestone in the development of community architecture. The development is regarded by UNESCO as one of the best 20th century buildings in England.
1971 58% of workers on Tyneside now in service industries.
1971 The diamond jubilee of the People's theatre celebrated with a performance of Shaw's The Philanderer.
1971 James Kirkup, the South Shields poet, gave a reading from his A Bewick Bestiary in the Hancock Museum. A citizen who had seen a picture of Kirkup wearing his kimono, shouted inappropriate comments and had to be ejected.
1971 Fenwick’s spectacular Christmas window displays began. The figures are actually made in Germany.
1972 W.H.Auden gave a reading at the University Theatre
1973 Central Motorway East opened
1974 T. Dan Smith jailed for six years for corruption
1974 MEA House built in Ellison Place, set up through the efforts of Esther McCracken, her husband and a friend, whose initials are included in the name. This is the first British building purpose-built to house a range of voluntary services.
1976 Eldon Square shopping centre opened
1976 The Royal Shakespeare began its annual residency in Newcastle. The company is an honorary freeman of Newcastle, along with Sir Bob Geldof and Nelson Mandela.
1977 Muhammad Ali with his wife and daughter visited Tyneside. They attended the then Newcastle mosque, Grainger Park Boys' Club, the Pendower Special School. Outside Newcastle Ali visited Alnwick Castle and had a great welcome in South Shields.
1977 President Jimmy Carter received the freedom of Newcastle.
1977 The year of the silver jubilee. The royal yacht Britannia arrived in the Tyne. The queen visited Cramlington.
1977 The Amber Artist Collective was set up in The Side. Photographic collection documenting the lives of the Newcastle working classes.
1977 Joe Strummer and another member of The Clash punk rock group were arrested for stealing pillow cases and keys from their hotel. They were fined £100.
1978 The Swing Bridge was closed during a June heat wave because of metal expansion.
1978 Bloodaxe Books founded in Newcastle.
1979 VIZ magazine founded in Jesmond, Newcastle. First sold in pubs (20p; 30p to students) it became by 1989 Britain's best-selling magazine, spawning a spoof TV documentary in 1990, and a computer game the following year.
1980 Tyne-Wear Metro opened - the first light rapid-transit system in the country.
1981 The Great North Run inaugurated.
1982 The Rolling Stones performed at St James Park
1983/86 First series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet shown on television
1984 To mark the re-opening of the Tyne Theatre and Opera House (the oldest working Victorian theatre in the country, a Grade I listed building) Placido Domingo sang the role of Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca. The rest of the cast was made up of locals. Tickets ranged from an unprecedented £25-50
1984 Bob Dylan performed at St James Park
1985 The Freeman Hospital carried out its first heart transplants. It was designated and funded by the government as the country's third transplant hospital. The first successful single lung transplant in Europe was performed here.
1985 Bruce Springsteen performed at St James Park as part of his 'Born in the USA' tour
1986 Queen performed at St James Park during their 'Magic' tour, the biggest concert ever seen in Newcastle. They donated their fee to the local Save the Children Fund. The group had played in the City Hall in 1974 and 1979
1988 Newcastle College was so designated to align it with Newcastle University and Northumbria University
1988 Funeral service in St Nicholas cathedral for Newcastle footballing legend 'Wor Jackie' Milburn. Many thousands lined the streets.
1988 Theatre Royal officially re-opened. Charlton Heston, who has North East antecedents was guest of honour.
1988 Princess Diana was in Whitley Bay in July.
1988 David Almond won the Carnegie Medal for his children's book Skellig, set in Heaton, Newcastle.
1989 Eldon Gardens opened.
1989 Rail accident at Newcastle Central Station; 15 injured
1989 (-2006) The popular TV series Byker Grove began, filmed in Benwell. The entertainment careers of Ant and Dec, Donna Air and Jill Halfpenny began here.
1990 Electrification of the East Coast main line completed as far as Newcastle
1990 Western Bypass opened
1991 C.P.Taylor's bitter-sweet play A Nightingale Sang [in Eldon Square] won a Prix Europa.
1991-93 Television series Spender broadcast
1992 University of Northumbria founded.
1992 The Tyne was officially declared to be a Class 1 river by the National Rivers Authority, and once again the finest salmon river in England.
1992 Monument Mall opened.
1993-2003 The Grainger Town area was regenerated with the help of English Heritage and other official bodies. Some £200 million of private finance was also attracted. The area contains 244 listed buildings - 29 of them Grade I and 49 Grade II. The much-disliked '60s Westgate House is to be demolished by public demand.
1996 Our Friends in the North shown on television. The British Film Institute ranks it at number 25 out of the hundred greatest British television programmes
1996 Newcastle United finished close runners-up in the Premier League to the great Manchester United side.
1996 Centre for Life built, the UK's first biotechnology village.
1997-98 The annual Healey Baker poll made Newcastle the best city in the country to work in
1998-2000 Northumbria was officially the best of the new uiversities
1999 The Conde Nast Traveller magazine made Newcastle the top UK city
2000 Newcastle Hospital Trust had one of the lowest mortality rates in the country, with high staffing levels
2000 Newcastle voted most popular large English city with Guardian readers
Alan Shearer of Newcastle United voted Premiership player of the decade 1990-2000
2000 Luciano Pavarotti performed at the Telewest Arena
2001 The Lindisfarne Gospels were displayed in Newcastle after 500 years in London. Almost 200,000 visited the Laing Art Gallery.
2001-2 Six concerts of music by Charles Avison were commissioned by BBC radio 3.
2002 The Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the first rotating bridge in the world and won the Royal Fine Arts Commission building of the year award, and the Stirling Award.
2002 Grey Street voted the best in England in a BBC Today poll organised with CABE
2002 - Ant 'n Dec of Newcastle were voted best TV presenters for six years running
2002 The Northern Rock Foundation Writers Award established as the highest literary prize in England (£60,000). The first winner was Anne Stevenson. Later winners have been Julia Darling, Tony Harrison, Gillian Allnutt and Andrew Crumey - all resident or working in the North East
2002-04 Newcastle top short break visitor destination
2003 Grainger Town renovated at the cost of £150 million.
2003 Statue of Cardinal Basil Hume unveiled by the queen in her golden anniversary year.
2004 Visitors to Newcastle reached a record level
2004 Television series 55 Degrees North shown
2005 Some 1700 nude people assembled in the early morning on the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead for installation photographs by Spencer Tunick. These were later displayed in the Baltic Art Gallery. The participants appeared to have enjoyed the experience and found it 'liberating'.
2005 Seven Stories, the Centre for the Children's Book, was opened in Newcastle.
2005 University of Northumbria again the best of the new universities.
2005 Chinese Arch (paifang) erected in Newcastle's Chinatown
2009 The Queen’s granddaughter, Princess Eugenie begins at Newcastle University. She chose it because Newcastle ‘is a great city’.